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Two sorts of Men in respect of Faith^ and what Faith is . . 417 

The Rich Man and Lasams 427 

The strength and growth of Faith and Love 441 

The Ten Lepers 468 

The Sum of the Christian Life 609 

Of the coming of Christ, and the signs that shall precede the 

last day (Sermon of Consolation) 647 



Jjc addirioD to the prefatory observations which have 
been affixed to the Translation of Luther's Bondage 
or THE WiEL, and to the Selection from his Works 
in KuMEERS, it may be proper to make a (ew remarks 
more, as an iotroduction to this Translation of hisCoM- 


being a work of much importance, and involving many 
particulars necessary to be mentioned by a Translator. 

The Hebrew words commented on in the course of 
the Work, are given in the original of Luther in Roman 
characters : and therefore it was deemed proper to re- 
tain the Roman character in the Translation also. But , 
as the Greek words are in the Greek character in the 
original, they are given the same in the Translation. 

2. Luther's version of the Psalms, or the version 
which he had before him, is necessarily given as it is in 
his Commentar)^ : because the matter of the whole 
Commentary' depends upon it. 

3. The example of the great Translators of his 
Commentary on the Galatians, and on his Psalms of 
degrees, who, ** having a respect unto the simple, pur- 
pofielj sponged out and and omitted such stumbling 


places (being but few) which might offend,"^ has been 
followed in the Translation of the present work. 

It is somewhat remarkable that the present produc- 
tion of Luther, together with the Bondage of the 
Will, and inost of his other works which have been lately 
published in the serieoof Nv vbsrs, have never appeared 
before in the English language; though they contain mat- 
ter so important and valuable. The present work, in 
particular, frodi having remained so long buried in the 
OenhaHadd Lati n^ haa certainly been a loss to many of the 
favourers of djvine and experimental truth : and there- 
fore it is hoped, that it will meet with a cordial recep- 
tion from them> aad be made useful unto their best 
intcrestSt^— With these few observations, the Reader is 
kft to convene with Luther himself, in his Com- 

* The trandatort* Pre&oe to the Commentary od the Galatians. 

iHartin Uufbtv 



If . 

:.i - ■ ;* 



It is usual to jneface a work, submitted to the notice of 
the world, with reasons for its publication^ The Transla- 
tor however desires to say, he has no other reasoti to 
assign for making the present '^offering," than that which 
be has already given in his Proposals for publication— 
""that from many particularly directing dircumstancei, 
be was led to believe it would, under the divine blessing, 
be useful to the church of God in the present day." 

The character which the work professes to bear is — 
tt> deliver faithfully the hind of Luther; retaining, 
LiT£RALLT, as much of his own wording, phrasr^- 
OLOGT, and expression, as could well be admitted 
iato the En^h version — the principles to which the 
Translator proposed and endeavoured to adhere, in his 
English version of Luther's profound and invaluable 
Treatise on the Bondage of the Will, which has 
lately been presented to the British Church. 

To these introductory observations, the Translator 
adds nothing more than the following appropriate ex- 
tract from the PrefiEure written by Melancthon, and 
prefixed by him to that edition of his beloved Luther's 
works, which he published at Wirtemberg, from the 
Press of Seitz in the year 1551, shortly after the death 
of his Christian brother and fellow-labourer in the 
niaistiy <^ Christ 



" Let us therefore give thanks unto God, the eternal 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who willed, that by the 
ministry of his servant Martin Luther, the mire and 
poison should again be cast out of the fountains of evange- 
lical truth, and the pure doctrine restored to the church. 
Wherefore, it becomes us and all good men throughout 
the world, to think of this, and to unite in prayers and 
desires, and to ciy unto God with fervent hearts, that he 
would confirm in us what he has thus wrought, for his 
holy templets sake. — This, O living and true God, eter- 
nal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the author of all 
things in thy church, this is thy word and promise — " For 
nine own sake will I have mercy upon you. For mine 
own sake, even for mine own sake will I do it, that my 
name be not blasphemed," Isaiah xlviii. — I cry unto 
thee with my whole heart, that for thine o\*ti glory, and 
for the glory of thy dear Son, thou wouldst never cease 
to gather unto thyself from among us, by the preaching 
of.the Gospel, an eternal church. And that, for the sake 
of thy dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was crucified 
for us and rose again, our Mediator and Intercessor, thy 
Holy Spirit may in all things rule our hearts, that we 
may call upon thee in truth, and serve the acceptably. 

— " And since thou hast created mankind to the end 
that thou mightest be acknowledged and called upon by 
all men, and hast for that intent, manifested thyself in 
so many eminent testimonies, who have borne witness 
of thee ; suffer not this army of witnesses to fail, from 
whom thy word of truth sounds forth. And since thy 
Son our Lord Jesus Christ, just before his final agony, 
prayed for us, saying, '^ Father, sanctify them throu^ 
thy truth, thy word is truth," to these prayers of our 


which give a summary of the divine doctrines contained 
in them, and instruct the reader in the kind of language 
which is there used; so that the honest and good heart, 
may draw the firmest testimonies of the true doctrine 
from the very fountains. — For it was the great aim of 
Luther, not to let any rest in his own writings, but to 
lead the minds of all to the fountain head. He would 
have us all to hear the voice of God. He wished to see, 
by that voice, the Are of genuine faith and calling upon 
God kindled in men, that God might be worshipped in 
truth, and that many might be made heirs of eternal life. 

<< This anxious desire of his, therefore, and these his 
labours, it becomes us to spread abroad with grateful 
hearts: and taking him for an example, to remember 
ttiat it behoves each of us to strive to adorn, according 
to his abilityi the church of God. For to these two ends 
.especially the whole of our life» its studies and designs, 
Ahoukl be durected.-r-First, to promote the glory of God. 
And secondly, to profit his church. — Concerning the 
lormer, St Paul says, ** Do all to the glory of God.' 
Ccooemiag the latter, it is said in the 122d Psalm, 
*^ Prey for the peace of Jerusalem." To whidi exhorta- 
tion, there is added, in the same verse, a most sweet 
promise, ^^Hiey shall prosper that love thee." These 
commands and promises from above, invite all to receive 
<be tree doctrine of the church» to love the ministers of the 
Gospel, and wholesome teachers, and to unite in desires 
imd devoted endeavours to spread abroad the doctrine 
of truth, and to promote the concord of the true church 
4^ God . — Reader, farewell. — Wirtemberg^ June 1 , 1 546." 



which will not suffer me to pay regard either to the dig- 
nity or humility of their station, intent only upon the 
consideration of their danger and their benefit. Where- 
fore, when I see you tossed to and fro in tumult at Rome 
as upon a sea of perils, with destruction threatening you 
on every side, and involved in that state of surrounding 
misery, that you stand in need of the least service from 
the meanest of your brethren, I do not think it will be 
an absurd intrusion if I forget, for a moment, your 
greatness, while I perform an office of charily. I cannot 
descend to adulation in a matter so momentous and 
perilous — in which, if you do not consider me to be your 
greatest, and yet most subservient, friend — there is one 
that seeketh and judgeth ! 

" Finally : That I might not come before you empty, 
I bring with me this little Treatise, published under the 
sanction of your name, as an auspicious sign of peace to 
be established, and of good hope to be realist. In which 
little work, you may have a taste of those things in which 
I delist to be engaged ; and in which I might be en- 
gaged to much greater profit than I now am, if I were 
not hindered by those impious flatterers around you, as 
I have hitherto been. — ^The Treatise is insignificant if 
you look at its bulk^ but if you consider its contents, you 
will, if I mistake not, find it to be a summary of the 
Christian life comprised in a narrow compass. As I am 
but a poor man, I have nothing else wherewith to pre- 
sent you. Nor will you need any thing else, but the gift 
of the Spirit to understand it. This offering, therefore, 
together with myself, I commend to your paternity and 
hminess: whom, may the Lord Jesus preserve unto 
eternal life. — Amen! " 

'' mriemherg, April \bWr 


I. The Christian man is a most free lord of all, sub- 
ject to none. 
II. The Christian man is the most dutiful servant of 
all, subject to all. 

Though these two things may seem to be contra- 
dictions, yet when they shall be found to harmonise, 
they wiU sweetly make for our present purpose. IJoth 
these propositions then are of Paul liimself, who saith, 
1 Cor. ix., " For though I be free from all men, yet have 
I made myself servant unto all." Again, Rom. xiii. 
" Owe no man any thing, but to love one another." For 
the nature of love is, to be dutiful and affectionately 
obedient unto the object beloved. Thus Christ, though 
Lord of all, was yet " made of a woman, made under the 
law ;" at the same time free, and a servant ; at the same 
time, in the form of God, and in the form of a servant. 
Gal. iv. 

But let us at the beginning, enter into these tilings 
more deeply and fully. — Man, then, consists of two 
natures, spiritual and corporal. In respect of his spiritual 
nature, which we term the soul, he is called the spiritual, 
the inner, the new man. In respect of his corporal nature, 
which we term the flesh, he is called the carnal, the out- 
ward, tlie old man ; concerning which the apostle saith, 
S Cor. iv. " Though our outward man perish, our inward 
man is renewed day by day/' And hence, from this 
diversity, contrary things are spoken in the scriptures 
concerning the same man : because these two men are 
at continual war with each other, from the flesh 
lusting against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, 
Gal. V. 


We consider then, first, the iftward man, with the 
intent of seeing in what way he can become justified, 
free, and a true Christian ; that is, a spiritual, and in- 
ward new man. And it is evident, that no external thing 
whatever, be its nature or denomination what it may, can 
be of any avail unto this Christian righteousness and 


^^ Let us therefore give thanks unto God, the eternal 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who willed, that by the 
ministry of his servant Martin Luther, the mire and 
poison shoulc) again be cast.out pf the fountains of evange- 
lical tnlth, and the pure doctrine restored to the church. 
Wherefore, it becomes us and all good men throughout 
the world, to think of this, and to unite in prayers and 
desires/ and tb ciy unto God with fervent hearts, that he 
would confirm' in us what he has thus wrought, for his 
hoiy temple's sake. — ^This, O living and true God, eter- 
nal Fatber of our Lord Jesus Christ, the author of all 
things ini thy church, this is thy word and promise-—** For 
nine own sake will I have mercy upon you. For mine 
own sake, even for mine own sake will I do it, that my 
name be not Masphetned,^* Isaiah xlviii. — I cry unto 
thee with my whole heart, that for thine own glory^ and 
for the glory of thy dear Son, thou wouldst never cease 
to gather unto thyself from among us, by the preaching 
of .the Gospel, an eternal church. And that, for the sake 
of thy dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was crucified 
for UR and rose again, our Mediator and Intercessor, thy 
Holy Spirit may in all things rule our hearts, that we 
may call upon thee in truth, and serve the acceptably. 

— ** And since thou hast created mankind to the end 
that diou' mightest be acknowledged and called upon by 
all men, and hast for that intent, manifested thyself in 
so many eminent testimonies, who have borne witness 
of thee; suffer not this army of witnesses to fail, from 
whom thy word of truth sounds forth. And since thy 
Son our Lord Jesus Christ, just before his final agony, 
prayed for us, saying, " Father, sanctify them through 
thy truth, thy word is truth," to these prayers of our 

High Priest, we^esire to join ours, and to entreat thee 
with him, that thy word of troth may ever shine 
ftg men, and that it may be our guide.^ — And these 
the prayers that we used to hear Luther also put 
daily, and it was in the midst of such prayers as 
tbee, that his peaceful soul, about the sixty-third year 
irf his age, was called away from his mortal body. 

Posterity possesses many monuments both of his 
*ie and of his piety. He published first, his 
works. In which he set forth that doctrine 
19 unto salvation, and indispensable to man, and 
vhidi instructs the upright concerning repentance, faith^ 
aod the true fruits of faith; concerning the use of the 
ncraments; concerning the difference between the law 
mod the gospel, and between the gospel and philosophy; 
coDceming the dignity of the order politic; and finally, 
eosoeniiiig all the principal articles of that doctrine, 
whjdi must be set forth and maintained in the church. 
He then publislied his uH)rks of refutation: m which He 
diipreved and ex(>osed many errors prejudicial to menL '' 
He published moreover his ivorks of crposition: which 
OQtttain many commentaries on the prophetic and apos- 
tolic scriptures : in which works, even his enemies confess 
^at he surpasses all the commentaries extant, 

'*That these are works of great merit, all good men 
wdl know. But truly, for utility and labour, all the^ 
works together are surpassed by his version of the Old 
tod New Testament ; in which there is so much clearness, 
that the German reading of itself supplies the necessity 
of cominenlary. Which version, however, is not quite 
ilone; th^e are annexed to it annotations of great 
kaming, together with descriptions of the subject-heads, 


uliich give a samaiary of the divine doctrines contained 
in them, and instruct the reader in the kind of language 
which is there used; so that the honest and good heart, 
may draw the firmest testimonies of the true doctrine 
from the very fountains. — For it was the great aim of 
Luthen not to let any rest in his own writings, but to 
lead the minds of all to the fountain head. He would 
have us all to hear the voice of God. He wished to see, 
by that voice, the Are of genuine faith and calling upon 
Gpd kindled in men, that God mi^t be worshipped in 
truth, and that many m^ be made heirs of eternal life. 

^' Vm iBLiixious desire of his, therefore, and these his 
labours, it becomes us to spread abroad with grat^l 
hearts: and taking him for an example, to remember 
ttiat it behoves, each of us to strive to adorn, according 
ta his ability, the church of God. For to these two ends 
especially the whole of our life, its studies and designs, 
AhooM be difected.-r-First, to promote the glory of Gixl. 
And secondly, to profit his church. — Concerning the 
lormevi St Paul says, " Do aU to the ^ory of God."* 
CoDOemi^g the latter, it is said in the 122d Psalm, 
*^ Pcay lor the peace of Jerusalem." To whidi exhorta- 
tion, tbeiie is added, in the ^ame verse, a most sweet 
promise, ^' lliey «hall prosper that, love thee/' These 
commands, and promises from above, invite all to receive 
<be true doctrine of the churcbi to love the ministers of the 
Gospeli and wholesome teachers, and to unite in desires 
and devoted endeavouis to spread abroad the doctrine 
oC truth, and to promote the concord of the true church 
^God. — Reader, farewell. — Wirtemberg^ June 1 , 1 546." 



The following extract, is the conclusion of Luther's 
letler nhich accompanied his Treatise on Christian 
Liberty to Leo X-, Pope of Rome; for whom the Trea- 
toe was expressly written, — 

— ** In a word, put no confidence in those who exalt 
you, but rather in those who would humble you. For 
ihb is the way of God's judgments^" He hath put 
donD the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the 
bumble and meek/' Behold how much the successors of 
Christ are unlike himself! And yet, they desire to be ac- 
cnunted his vkars. And I greatly fear that very many 
of tbetn will \m found to be his vicars in an awful reality. 
For a vicar is one Avho takes the place of a potentate 
when he is absent. And if the Pope rule and govern 
nhen Christ is absent, that is, not dwelling in his heart, 
what is such an one, but a vicar of Christ! And what 
b sucrh a church, but a confused multitude without 
Christ r And what is such a vicar, but Antichrist ! 

** I may, perhaps, be deemed insolent for presuming 
to teach a potentate so mighty : from whom, (as those 
deadly pests of flatterers around you arrogantly vaunt^) 
all thrones and seats of judgment should fetch their defi- 
""-ivc deeisi^^p4^ntence.— But I follow the exiwple 

St. lieru^T" '\ book to Eugenius " On Consi- 

dcration;^^ V Pope ought to know by heart* 

you so much from a desire of 

^ as firo n^a duty of that pure and 

i S '^^^ fear for my friends 

fe around them, and 


which will not suffer me to pay regard either to the dig- 
nity or humiliW of their station, intent only upon the 
consideration of their danger and their benefit.. Where- 
fore, when I see you tossed to and fro in tumult at Rome 
as upon a sea of perils, with destruction threatening you 
on every side, and involved in that state of surrounding 
misery, that you stand in need of the least service from 
the meanest of your brethren, I do not think it will be 
an absurd intrusion if I forget, for a moment, your 
greatness, while I perform an oflfice of charity. I cannot 
descend to adulation in a matter so momentous and 
perilous — in which, if you do not consider me to be your 
greatest, and yet most subservient, friend — there is one 
diat seeketh and judgeth ! 

" Finally : That 1 might not come before you empty, 
I bring with me this little Treatise, published under the 
sanction of your iiame, as an auspicious sign of peace to 
be esfablishra, and of good hope to be realized. In which 
little work, you may have a taste of those things in which 
I delight to be engaged; and in which I might be en- 
gaged to much greater profit than I now am, if I were 
not hindered by those, impious flatterers around you, as 
I have hitherto been. — ^The Treatise is insignificant if 
y(^u look at its bulk,, but if you consider its contents, you 
will, if I mistake riot, find it to be a summary of the 
Christian life comprised in a narrow compass. As I am 
but a poor man, I have nothing else wherewith to pre- 
sent you. Nor will you need any thing else, but. the gift 
of the Spirit to understand it. This offering, therefore, 
together with myself, I commend to your paternity and 
hcSiness: whom, may the Lord Jesus preserve unto 
eternal life.— Amen! 

" Whrtemberg, Apnl 1696." 



CfiftisTf AK fiuth^ has appeared to many ao easy 
wtfier : of whom, not a few have classed it atnoog the 
Mnl vitlQes, nay, have made it merely a ^ori of Bficn^ 
iuA OQ Ttittie. And this they have donc^ becaui^ they 
kfc never proved what it h in their own expcrieiicet 
nor toteinaUy tasted its power. Whereas, no one can 
tniy describe it himseif^ nor really understand it when 
tntty described^ unless he ha^ at some time, under the 
Say trial of pressing conflicts, tasted the spirit of it in his 
own soul* And he who has really tasted this, even in the 
SDallesi degree, can never *^Tite of it, speak of it, tliink 
of it, nor hear of it enough ; for it is, as Christ calls it, 
*' a living fountain springing up into everlasting life,*' 
John rv. 

As to '-' -i*" »K^....,h I ftiay not boast of an abun- 
imt 5loc (for 1 deejity feel my Blraitened 

dltfidencj,) yet I do trust, that out of the great and 
various tribolations under which I have been exercised, I 
have gotten of faith a certain drachm : and tliat I can 
dierefore treat of it, if not more elcKiuently, yet certainly 
nore atibstaatially, than any of those learned and subtle 
ones have hitherto done, in all their laljoured dispu- 
tBtioQs : who, after they had done, knew not what they 
theiDselves had written u{Km the subject But in order 
lo open op this matter the more plainly to simple souls, 
(ifnte it fa for them only 1 write,) I lay down at the 
ootset these two paoposiiioNs concerning the Aowrftf^if 
tad Uhcrttf of the Spirit — 


I. The Christian man is a most free lord of all, sub- ^ 
ject to none. <i 

II. The Christian man is the most dutiful servant of i 
all, subject to all. 
Though these two things may seem to be contra- * 
dictions, yet when they shcdl be found to harmonise, \ 
they will sweetly make for our present purpose. Both ; 
these propositions then are of Paul himself, who saith, 
1 Cor. ix., " For though I be free from all men, yet have 

1 made myself servant unto all." Again, Rom. xiii. 
" Owe no man any thing, but to love one another." For 
the nature of love is, to be dutiful and affectionately 
obedient unto the object beloved. Thus Christ, though 
Lord of all, was yet " made of a woman, made under the 
law ;" at the same time free, and a servant ; at the same 
time, in the form of God, and in the form of a servant. 
Gal. iv. 

But let us at the beginning, enter into these things 
more deeply and fully. — Man, then, consists of two 
natures, spiritual and corporal. In respect of his spiritual 
nature, which we term the soul, he is called the spiritual, 
the inner, the new man. In respect of his corporal nature, 
which we term the flesh, he is called the carnal, the out- 
ward, the old man ; concerning which the apostle saith, 

2 Cor. iv. " Though our outward man perish, our inward 
man is renewed day by day." And hence, from this 
diversity, contrary things are spoken in the scriptures 
concerning the same man : because these two men are 
at continual war with each other, from the flesh 
lusting against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, 
Gal. V. 


We consider then, first, the hnvard man, with the 
intent of seeing in what way he can become justified, 
free, and a true Christian : that is, a spiritual, and in- 
ward new man. And it is evident, that no external thing 
whatever, be its nature or denomination what it may, can 
be of any avail unto this Christian righteousness and 


nor^ on the other hand, be of any arail to 



be pefBtmded by the following demonstration. 

For, what can it avail unto the liberty of the soul, if 
the body be in health, vigour, and vivacity ? If it eat, 
drink^ and do what it list ? The most abandoned slaves 
lo all sin enjoy these things to the full, — On the other 
bud, how can a soul in liberty be brought into bondage 
bjf 31-bealthf or captivity, or hunger, or thirst, or any 
ittfiOTiiil evil ? Those who most tear God, and enjoy the 
porest conscience and the most perfect freedom, are 
iflCcted with these things to the utmost.— None of these 
estemal things, therefore, reach to the liberty or bondage 
of the soul* 

So also, it can avail nothing unto this liberty, if the 
body be adorned with holy robes after the manner of 
priests ; if it be coatiQually in holy places and occupiecj 
in holy duties ; if it pray, fast, and abstain from certain 
meats ; if it perform every holy exercise that is wrought, 
or can be wrought by the body, Sonae thing far beyond 
all this is necessary unto the righteousness and liberty of 
the soul ! For all the things just mentioned nriay be per* 
foniied by any, even tlie most wicked, nor would they, 
after all^ be any more dian hypocrites 1— On the other 
haEid, it cannot injure the liberty of the soul, if the body 
be clothed in common garments, and continue in common 
places ; if it eat, and drink as do others ; if it never pray 
aloud ; if it do none of all those services which, we have 
just observed, may be done by hypocrites. 

In a word, to reject all things :— neither speculations^ 
meditations, nor the greatest devotional eflbrts of which 
the human mind is capable, avail any thing. One thing, 
and that only can effect the life, the righteousness, and 
the liberty of a Christian^— and that is, the most holy 
Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ : as he saith 
John xi., '* I am the resurrection and die life, he that be- 
lieveth in me shall never die/' Again, John viii., '' If the 
Son &hall make you free, you shall be free indeed/' And 
agjAittp Matt iv., " Man shall not live by bread alone. 


but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth 
of God/* 

This, then we may consider as a fixed and absolute 
certainty ; that the soul may endure the want of every 
thing but the Word of God. Deprived of this, it cannot 
receive benefit from any one thing ; but having this, it is 
rich, wanting nothing : for it is the Word of life, of 
truth, of light, of peace, of righteousness, of salvation, of 
jew, of liberty, of wisdom, of strength, of grace, of glory, 
of all good that passeth understanding ! And this is the 
reason why the prophet, throughout the whole of his- 
Octonary, and in many other places, sighs out so many 
prayers, cries, and groans, concerning the Word of God ! 
And hence, as, on the one hand, no greater plague 
can be inflicted by the anger of God than when he sends 
a famine of hearing the Word, as in Amos viii. ; so, on 
the other, there can be no greater token of his favour 
than when he sends his Word : as in Psalm cvii., ***'He 
sent his Word and healed them, and delivered them out 
of their destructions." Nor was Christ sent unto any 
other office, than that of the Word. Nor was the apos- 
tolical, episcopal, nor the whole ministerial order, called 
and ordained to any other purpose, than the ministry of 
the Word. 

But you will ask which Word of God is this ? and 
how must it be made use of? for there are so many 
words of God. — I answer, the apostle Paul, Rom. i., 
explains which it is. The gospel of God concerning his 
Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was incarnate, and 
crucified ; and who is risen again, and glorified by the 
Holy Ghost the sanctifier. For, the preaching of Christ, 
feeds, justifies, sets free, and saves the soul that believeth 
what is preached. For faith alone is the saving and ef- 
fectual use of the Word of God : as in Romans x., " If 
thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, 
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him 
from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Again, " Christ is 
the end of the law for righteousness to every one that 
believeth." And again, Romans i., "The just shall live 


ikiih/' Nor can the word of God be received and 
ced by any works whatever, but by faith only. 
Aod therefore it is clear, that as the soul needs nothing 
but the M*onl unto life and riirhteousness, it is justified^ 
witfaaul any works, by faith only. For if it could be 
jiottfied by any thing else, it would have no need of the 
Word; and consequently no need of faith* 

And moreover, this faith can by no means consist 
ler irith any w^orks: that is, if thou presume to be 
by any works, of any kind or denomination 
whatever, together ivith faith. For this would be, to 
^'hftit between two opinions: '' to " worship Baal/' and 
to ** kiss the hand : " which, as Job sailh, is the greatest 
of ftll in^quit^^ Therefore, when thou beginnest to be- 
lieve, thoti at the same time beginnest to learn, that all 
tlliiii*s in thyself are unrighteous, sinful^ and damnable; 
to that passage, Romans iii., *' All have sinned 

LI Hue short of the glor\* of God. There is none 

ujs. tliere is none that doeth good, no not one: 

lliey are all gone out of the way, they are all together 

^MMDe unprorttatile/' When thou hast known this in 

H^nelft thou wilt feel the necessity of Christ as having 

aiBercd and risen again for thee, and of believing in 

Urn: that thou mightest, by this faith, liecome another 

mui. in finding all thy sins forgiven thee, and thyself 

jMified by the merits of another, even of Christ only. 

Shice, therefore, this faith can have dominion no 
vllere but ia the inner man, as Paul saith, Rom. x., 
•*Witfa the heart man believeth unto righteousness; " it 
ii endent^ that the inner man can be made righteous, 
Kifiee, and saved, by no external work or circumstance 
tiiatever^ and that no work whatever can liave any 
ihiag at all to do with it: even eis on the other hand, it 
iiby no external sin or work whatever, but solely by the 
lieTiuil iniquity and unbelief of the heart, that man 
Innes the guilty and damnable bond-slave of sin. And 
ieeelbre, it should be the tirst great aim of every Chris- 
Uit laYiog aside all idea of works, to strengthen more 
■ri more his faith only, that through the same lie might 


but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth 
of God." 

This, then we may consider as a fixed and absolute 
certainty ; that the soul may endure the want of every 
thine but the Word of God. Deprived of this, it cannot 
receive benefit from any one thing ; but having this, it is 
rich, wanting nothing : for it is the Word of life, of 
truth, of light, of peace, of righteousness, of salvation, of 
joy, of liberty, of wisdom, of strength, of grace, of glory, 
of all good that passeth understanding ! And this is the 
reason why the prophet, throughout the whole of his- 
Octonary, and in many other places, sighs out so many 
prayers, cries, and groans, concerning the Word of God ! 
And hence, as, on the one hand, no greater plague 
can be inflicted by the anger of God than when he sends 
a famine of hearing the Word, as in Amos viii. ; so, on 
the other, there can be no greater token of his favour 
than when he sends his Woni : as in Psalm cvii., '^•'He 
sent his Word and healed them, and delivered them out 
of their destructions." Nor was Christ sent unto any 
other office, than that of the Word. Nor was the apos- 
tolical, episcopal, nor the whole ministerial order, called 
and ordained to any other purpose, than the ministiy of 
the Word. 

But you will ask which Word of God is this? and 
how must it be made use of? for there are so many 
words of God. — I answer, the apostle Paul, Rom. i., 
explains which it is. The gospel of God concerning his 
Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was mcamate, and 
crucified ; and who is risen again, and glorified by the 
Holy Ghost the sanctifier. For, the preaching of Christ, 
feeds, justifies, sets free, and saves the soul that believeth 
what is preached. For faith alone is the saving and ef- 
fectual use of the Word of God : as in Romans x., " If 
thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, 
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him 
from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Again, " Christ is 
the end of the law for righteousness to every one that 
believeth." And again, Romans i., "The just shall live 


but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth 
of God." 

This, then we may consider as a fixed and absolute 
certainty ; that the soul may endure the want of every 
thins but the Word of God. Deprived of this, it cannot 
receive benefit from any one thing ; but having this, it is 
rich, wanting nothing: for it is the Word of life, of 
truth, of light, of peace, of righteousness, of salvation, of 
joy, of liberty, of wisdom, of strength, of grace, of glory, 
of all good that passeth understanding ! And this is the 
reason why the prophet, throughout the whole of his 
Octonary, and in many other places, sighs out so many 
prayers, cries, and groans, concerning the Word of God I 
And hence, as, on the one hand, no greater plague 
can be inflicted by the anger of God than when he sends 
a famine of hearing the Word, as in Amos viii. ; so, on 
the other, there can be no greater token of his favour 
than when he sends his Word : as in Psalm cvii., *** He 
sent his Word and healed them, and delivered them out 
of their destructions." Nor was Christ sent unto any 
other office, than that of the Word. Nor was the apos- 
tolical, episcopal, nor the whole ministerial order, called 
and ordained to any other purpose, than the ministry of 
the Word. 

But you will ask which Word of God is this ? and 
how must it be made use of? for there are so many 
words of God. — I answer, the apostle Paul, Rom. i., 
explains which it is. The gospel of God concerning his 
Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was incarnate, and 
crucified ; and who is risen again, and glorified by the 
Holy Ghost the sanctifier. For, the preaching of Christ, 
feeds, justifies, sets free, and saves the soul that believeth 
what is preached. For faith alone is the saving and ef- 
fectual use of the Word of God : as in Romans x., " If 
thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, 
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him 
from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Again, " Christ is 
the end of the law for righteousness to every one that 
believeth." And again, Romans i., "The just shall live 


by hw faith," Nor can the word of God be received and 
embnced by any works whatever, but by faith only. 
Ami therefore it is clear, that as the soul needs nothing 
but the Word unto life and righteousness, it is justified, 
without any works, by faith only. For if it could be 
justified by any thing else, it would have no need of the 
Won!; and consequently no need of faith. 

And moreover, this faith can by no means consist 
together with any works: that is, If thou presume to be 
jmified by any works, of any kind or denomination 
whatever, together with faith, l^or this would be, to 
**lm)t between two opinions: *' to '* worship Baal,'' and 
to **ktss the hand:" which, as Job saith, is tlie greatest 
0f all iniquity. Therefore, when thou beginnest to be- 
lieve, thou at the same time lieginnest to learn, that all 
things in thyself are unrii^hteous, sinful, and damnable; 
ai lt to that passage, Romans iii,, *' All have sinned 

acu, ^,>iiAe short of the glory of God. There is none 
ri^bleoiis, there is none that doeth good^ no not one: 
tbey are all gone out of the way, they are all together 
become unprofitable.'* When thou hast known this in 
tk^lft thou wilt feel the necessity of Christ as having 
Btnered and risen again for thee, and of believing in 
him: that thou mightest, by this faith, become another 
■tan^ in finding all thy sins forgiven thee, and thyself 
jw^ifiecl by the merits of another, even of Christ only. 

Since, therefore, this faith can have dominion no 
nhere but in the inner man, as Paul saith, Rom. x.. 

yWith the heart man believeth unto righteousness:" it 
evident^ that the inner man can be made righteous, 
t free, and saved, by no external work or circumstance 
wlialever, and that no work whatever can have any 
■Kfffcg at all to do with it: even as on the other hand, it 
is by no external sin or work whatever, but solely l>y the 
iateraaJ iniquity and unlielief of the heart, that man 
beoocnes the guilty and damnable bond-slave of sin. And 
tberefore, it should be the first great aim of every Chris- 
tiUf laying aside all idea of ^vorks, to strengthen more 
lud more his faith only, that through the same he might 


increase in the knowledge^ not of works, bat of Christ 
Jesus, as having suffered and risen again for him, (as 
Peter, in his First Epistle, last chapter, teaches: ) for it 
is no other work but this that makes the Christian. So 
Christ, John vi., when the Jews asked him what they 
should do that they might " work the works of God, 
utterly rejecting all that multitude of works with which 
he beheld them to be so puffed up, commanded them 
this one thing, saying, ^^ This is the work of God, that 
ye beUeve on him whom he hath sent; for him hath God 
the Father sealed." 

Thus faith alone in Christ, is a treasure that passedi 
all understanding; bringing with itself full salvation, and 
delivering from every destruction : as it is written in the 
last chapter of Mark, ^^ He that believeth and is bap- 
tized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be 
damned." This treasure Isaiah beholding, prophesied 
thus, chap* X., ^^ A short and consummate work hath God 
decreed to make upon the earth, and the consummate 
work shall overflow with righteousness." As though he 
had said, Faith, which is a short and consummate fulfil- 
ment of the law, shall so overflow with righteousness 
unto them that believe, that they shall have need of 
nothing else unto righteousness. The same also saith 
Paul, Rom. x., " With the heart man believeth unto 

But you will ask, how can it be that faith alone jus- 
tifies, and, without any works, brings in such an abundant 
treasure of all good, when so many works, ceremonies, 
and laws, are enjoined us in the scriptures ? I answer — 
before all things hold that in mind which I have just 
shewn; that faith alone, without any works, justifies, 
sets free, and saves: as shall be more plainly shewn 
hereafter. — 

In the meantime, I should set things distinctly before 
thee thus: — The whole scriptures of God are divided 
into two parts, precepts and promises. The precepts do 
indeed teach good things, but those good things which 
they teach are not at once performed : for though they 


^ lis what we ought to do, they give us no power t 
*onn the 3ame. Therefore, they were expressly ordaioci 
lb end, that tliey might shew roan to himself; that 
by them he might be brought to know his utter inabiht 
to do itmt which is good, and to despair of all strengt 
in him^lf ; and therefore it is that they are called th 
Old Testament, which indeed they are* — For example^ 
Thoa shalt not covef' is a precept : by which, we an 
~ brought in guilty as sinners : for there is no one thai 
be free from coveting, how much ?^oever he m-d^t 
iTr :nst it. And therefore, in order that he may 

br^-^^. aot to covet, and to fultil the law, he is drive 
lu despair in lumself, and to seek tiiat help else^vhere, 
ifld in another, which he finds not in himself: as it is 
in Hosea xiii., '*0 Israel, thy destruction is from 
', and thy only help is in me," And the etlect pro- 
by this one commandment, is [iroduced by all the 
for llie>' are all alike impossible unto us. 
mien the man has been taught by the precepts his 
utter inability, and has l>ecome anxious to know in what 
can possibly satisfy the law, (for the law must be 
!>o that not one jot or tittle thereof fail, or he 
miijt be damned without hope,) f >eing tlien truly humbled 
«lid broughl to nothing in his own eyes, he finds nothing 
in himself whereby he can become righteous in order to 
\m saved, Then^ — here comes in to his help the other 
port of the scripture, the promises of God, which bring 
the glad tidings of the glory of God ; and say, if thou 
ircMiJd»L fulfil the law, and not covet, as the law requires^ 
then hearken ! — Believe in Christ, in whom are promised 
iiato ihee grace, righteousness, peace, liberty, and all 
thipg». If thou believe, thou shalt have all things ; if 
thoii believe not, thou shalt have nothing. For all the 
commanded works of the law, (which are impossible with 
tboe, and which are innumerable, and after all of no avail 
nolo italvation,) thou shalt fulril by this '* short consum- 
iRate work'* — by believing ! For God the Father hatli 
included all things in faith. So that he who hath this 
Ittlh all Uiinp^ ; and he who hath not this, hath nothing. 


Because, God hath included all things in unbelief, that he 
might have mercy upon all, Rom. xi. Thus, the promises 
of God give freely all that the precepts exact, and fulfil 
all that the law commands, that all may be of God only, 
both the precepts and their fulfillment. God alone com- 
mands, and God alone fulfils. Therefore, the proniises 
belong to the New Testament ; and the New Testament 
indeed they are. 

And moreover, as these promises are the words of 
God ; holy, true, righteous, free, peaceable, and full of 
all good ; it comes to pass, that the soul which cleaves to 
them with a steady faith, is so united to them, yea wholly 
absorbed in them, that it not only partakes of, but is 
saturated and intoxicated with, all their unctuous virtue. 
For if the touch of Christ healed, how much more shall 
the very absorbing of the unctuous spirit of the word, 
into the tender soil of the soul, communicate to the soul 
all the nature of that word ! And it is in this manner 
that the soul, by faith alone, without any external works, 
is, through the operation of the word of God, justified, 
sanctified, made true, setded in peace, set free, filled 
with all good, and made in reality the daughter of God : 
according to that saying, John i., " To them gave he 
power to become the sons of God, even unto theto that 
believe on his name." 

From these things it may be plainly understood, how 
it is that faith is of so much efficacy, and why no works, 
nor all good works together, are equal unto it. Tlie 
reason is — no work can cleave to the word of God, nor 
have any indwelling in the soul. Faith and the word of 
God alone can have dominion tliere. And such as the 
word is in nature, into the same is the soul changed : as 
iron put into the fire becomes like fire, through the 
nature of the fire to which it is united. 

It is clear, therefore, that the faith of a Christian 
man sufficeth for all things: and that he has no need g( 
any works whatever unto justification. And then, if he 
have no need of works, he has no need of the law : and if 
he have no need of the law, he is tcrlainly freed from the 

^: md ihegefape ii is inii^ ,ihat <'ih«flaw m» not 
•^Jtnr a riglitecKii man/' i Tinu ir— Tbii iban i? Uiai 

r faith : whtc^ does not 
L. i..^ «k; M;^ or liva as we Hit, 

tne Chmtian liberty 
9^ w oocasaoQ to ^il 

to h so cinliuned^ that oo one mighl have any need o£ 
^l» otiCci riishteousoeaa iiml salvation, j 

Ia: „_ _ .,...4 >.viered as limjirji power of •'-'^ Wo 
fffl now speak of ibe secMd. For tlii** al- r% Ui 

Mk — Id have the most high BXkd holy * m 

«»hooi it bc!i- v-tj^ , that ii^, to hoUl i.,*.. ,.. ....v, ^,^d 

^Drtikf to be T Nor 15 tlierc any honour equal 

niD that eatimiOkja of truth aodjusticci in which we 
Md him^ m wboco we fully confidcu What can wea&ciibe 
«i0 any ooe more honourable than truth, iuMice, and 
oaplaie aod perfect goodneift r On the other hand, it 
iicfaie greatest of all reproaches t^ «•"* ..k of any one a^ a 
ift tod di^one&t, or e\^eo to hn in; which vn m 

nitef do, when wc da not believe him. 

mos tlie soul, while it steadfastly bdicve^i in God 
proBiistng, hold.'i him to be true and just: than which opi* 
wa, 00 greater homage can be paid him.— llie highest 
^oohip of God, h to ascribe unto him truth, righteous- 
&a&, and whatever we would ascril>e unto one in whom 
n fulh confide I This worf^hipper, is prepared to do aU 

toe will of Cvod ; hesanci'^V-^ i*'^ n^rrw^ Lt vuKinitw hTni* 

sdf to be dealt with aii it 

beemse, he leans eotirely u^* 

iiif5, but ihatas be ball truth, i.^,,;^ 

he Hill manage, order, and do all t »r the lx.^t. 

Aod doe* not such a ihif^ liis f«uth, yield ol>ecii- 

€8ce unto God in all ^ What precept is there 

which such an obeil ne^ not abundantly futtil ? 

What fulfilment can Ui n^t>re perfect than universid obe- 

dieoce? And this obedience is really yielded, nut by 

workSy bat by &itli only ! 

On the '* at rebellion, what impiety 

isait it be I ..^i ^, ,,,.1 coiitfim^t ran Ik* t»uf ii|H»n 

Gndt ^han not to Mievt: bin) wl 

lift else but to bold him a liar ; mt: ^t U^ai^l^ >M iUmU 


his truth ! — Jhat is, lor « aiaii to tttribute tnith unto 
himflelf, but Ijiag aad rBJoity unto God t In so doing, 
does he not deny God altogether, and set up himself in 
his heart for it seif*wonUf>|ring idol? And what think ve 
worics can avail done hi th& impious state of heart, be 
they never so evangelical and apostolical ? Ririiteously 
therefore hath God induded all, not in wrato, not in 
lust, but in unbelief: lest those, who imagine that they 
fulfil the law by their chaste and kind woi^s of the law, 
(which are at best but moral or political virtoes,) should 
presume to expect that they should be therefore saved, 
when they are all the whUe included ^nder the sin of un- 
belief, and must either seek the mercy, or be damned by 
the justice of God! 

But when God sees that truth is ascribed unto him, 
and that he is honoured by the &ith of our heart with 
an that honour which is due unto him, he in return 
honours us by imputing unto us truth and righteousness 
because of this faith only. For it is faith diat makes 
truth and righteousness, by ascribUig unto God his own; 
and in return God rewards that our righteousnests with 
glory ! For it is true and just to hold God true and just ; 
aind to ascribe this unto him, and confess it, is to be true 
and just : according to 1 Sam. ii., ^' Whosoever ho- 
noureth me I will glorify him, but they that despise me 
shall be accounted nou^t." So Paul, llom. iv., saith of 
Abraham, that his faith was counted unto him for right- 
eousness ; because, by it he gave full glory to God : and 
it shall, for the same reason, be imputed unto us for 
ri^teousness also, if we believe. 

The third power of this most precious faith is that 
which couples the soul to Christ as a spouse to her hus- 
band : by which sacred union, as Paul teacheth, Christ 
and the soul are made one flesh : and if they be one 
flesh, and there be a true marriage, yea, by far the most 
perfect of all marriages, consummated between them 
(for all human marriages are but the faintest representa- 
tion of this,) then it follows, that all which belongs to 
each, both good and evil, becomes common to both. So 

hi dual to, and glory in, t» be^ owtM ; mni whammr 
Mdm to the «cmlv Christ t^lwi isfioo himaoirM his* 

Now tet 135% only merfiiale do these thm^ cmfMrad 
Miier, atid we m»1I iad tbeai to be unspeal»fala^ — 
Cnt is full of grace, life, mod salvHtioii ; the soul is 
tf of sin, death, and damnatloa. Here, let fattb com^ 
iilietween, and it nhaU ^—^- '^n piy^s tlmt the sin, dcotll, 
ori hdl an Ud upon and his grace, life, end 

made the fXHtioD of the wul ! For bof as the 
must take unto himteif, together wttb the 
all th«fe ihe brings with her ; and imfian unto 
\m, aH that be posiesges* For he irho finely pwa hm 
liibody n--^ ^-mself, ho«r can he DOtgiire ber aU things 
teife b: J be who take« itoin hioMtdf die hmiy of 

he wfoaam^ how eao he not take wid) her ail things that 

Here dieti is brought to light a mnn swe^ view^ not 
rffomnwniino only^ bat of a %h irfare, of victory, 

«f arivtttioD and redemptkMt ! I^u, ^ntce Christ is God 
nd man, mod snch a persoti as never has Mne4 M^ 
nor is damned, nay, oemr can sjo, die, or be 
~ since hi'v ri^hteoniiieas, Itfi, and i 

eternal, and omnipotent; ^nooyl saw, 
mA a person has, by tin- weddin^fing of hxtb^ wmm 
the ibk deadly and bel I of his spouse common to hiaiself, 
lea, hk own ; and actif and snlfiBta under them as If 
they were hifi own, and aJ^ if he himself had sinned, 1*- 
homogy dying, and descending into hell, thait he may 
ii iB iMJWie ^ ibom all ; and *<ince, siit, deaths and hell, could 
ikot swallow up him, it h of necessity certain, that, in 
the sCopeiKloas conflict, they are all swalloired up b^ 
hna. For his ri|;|ileOTsn»s is greater than all sin, hia life 
is atronger than all death, bis salvation more powerful 
«ian aU hell! 

Thns the behaving soul, by the pledge of fidth in 
Christ her spouse, becoosia me Arom all sins, secure 
fina daath, safe froan belt, smd endowed \vith the eternal 
life, and sahmtion of her husband Christ 
I Christ imaenta onto himself a spouse w ithout spot 
c S 


or wrinkle, and all glorious tibroug^ his cleansing her 
".with the washing in Uie word of life; that is,^by faith in 
the word of life, righteousness, and sualvation. And thus 
he betroths her unto himself in feith, in mercy, in loving- 
kindnesses, in righteousness, and in judgment: as Hosea 
: saith, chap. ii. 

Who then can fiiUy enter into the greatness of this 

.royal marriage? Who can comprehend the riches of the 

glory of this grace? where this rich and holy husband 

' Christ, takes unto wife this poor, miserable, sii^ hariot, 

' riedeeming her from all her evils, and adorning her with 

all his saving benefits! It is impossible now, that her 

- sins should destroy her, for they have all been laid upon 

Christ, and swallowed up in him; and she has that 

' righteousness in Christ her husband, which she may 

glory in as her own,- and may, with confidence, set 

a^dnst all her sins, yea, against death and hell; and say, 

/If I have sinned, yet, my Christ had not sinned in 

whom I believe : aU whose are mine,. and mine.are his :' 

as in the Cuticles, ^^ My beloved is mine and I am his." 

This is what Paul saith, 1 Cor. xv., *^ Thanks be unto 

'.God, who giveth us the victoiy tturough Jesus Christ 

i oar Lord : - that is, the victory over sin and death, as 

he there shews, " The sting of death is sin, and the 

• strength of sin is the liaw." 

]m)m these thingfs, you may again understand why 
.it is, that 60 much is attributed to faith ; — that it alone 
fulfils the law, and justifies without any works whatever. 
For you see that die first commandment, in which it is 
isaid, Thou shalt worship one Grod, can be fulfilled only 
•by feith. For if thou thyself wert nothing else but good 
works from the sole of the foot even unto the head, yet 
thou wouldst not be righteous, nor wouldst thou worship 
iGod, nor fulfil the first commandment. For God cannot 
be worshipped, unless there be ascribed unto him truth 
•and the glory of all goodness, as they ought to be as- 
cribed : and this no works can do, but the faith of the 
:heart only. For it is not by working, but by believing, 
diat we fforify God and confess him to be true. On this 
accoimt it is, that faith alone is the righteousness of a 

Qttliliiin man, aod the faitilixieiil of all the comiiiaiid- 
wmSt^z for he who fulfiU thb first comniafidment, fulfUt 
iD ilie r^l wiihuui any kborioys working. 

And moreover, work^ u tbey are tmn^ toMittihle, 
caoDOt possibly glorify God« althouf^i tlie)- may be done, 
@r done io failh^) to the glory of God. But we are 
Mdow inquiring into tlie c|tiality c^ the worius thai aie 
faie, but into the person who does them, who produces 
ibt works and glorities God : — and thii^ 15, tlie faith of 
ia hearti the h»d and subatanoe of all oar rj^teods- 
BBL Therefore, the doctrine which teQcbes that ibe 
n— lamitnents are to be fultiUed by works, is blind and 
foioBs : for the comroandnients must he l^lriUed before 
mj work is done, and works most follow that fulfilment : 
s «e shall pres^ittv hear. 

But, in order that we may behold more fully this 
aire which our inward man hath in Christ, it nmst be 
mown, that Goii, under the Old Testament, sandifisd 
mil) himself every first-bom male. And tlie first birlfa 
ns always pre-eminently eatoemedtasd held to tworokl 
kxKMir abore the rest, both in the priealhood and in tlic 
Umlom. For the first-bom bmtlier was priest, and 
hia, Q?er all the reit^ Under which figure Christ was 
ikadowed Ibrth, die true and only begotten Son of God 
iki Father and the Virgin Mary, me true king and 
pri^; not according to the flesh, aod this world, for 
tk kingdom is not of this world ; he reigns and* 
cmtes in heavenly and spiritual things, which are ri^ite- 
lanDesi, truth, wisdom, peace, salvation, &c. Not that 
|l jfaings in e^rfh and bell are not subject to him also, 
(the bc^ cookl he preserve and save us from them) but 
his kbifidooi does not consist in then? tliin;^^, nor h it of 
Ann. Naith» do^ hts priesthood coni^i^i m the external 
pomp of robes and ges^tures, (as tliat earthly priesthood 
of Aaron was, and as our r< rical prie^mood is in 

the present day,) but in spin: ungs ; in which, by an 
invisible ofl&ce in heaven, he intercedes^ for us before Gotl, 
and there oSkn up himself, and does all those things 
which pertain unto a priest : as Paul describes him unto 
ibc Hebrews under the figure of Melchiredec. Nor does 

he pray and totercede for us as Priest oidy, but tie 
teadies us ako in the spirit, bj the living doctrines of 
his own Spirit; which two, are the peculiar offices of a 
priest, as is still represented by earthly priests, in their 
prayers and visible preaching. 

And even as Christ by his first^birthright has ob- 
tained these two dignities, so does he impart them and 
make tbem common to each of his believing ones ; ac- 
cording to the before-mentioned law of matrimony, by 
whidi, whMever belongs to the husband, belongs to the 
^^use : «U we therefore who believe in Christ, are kings 
and priests in Christ : as Peter saith, ** But ye are a 
'chosen generation, a peculiar i)eople, a royal priesthood, 
a toBgoom of priests, that ye should shew forth the 
praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into 
his marvdlbus light," 1 Peter ii. 

The natures of which two privileges are these.— 
First, as to the kingdom^ every Christian is, by his 
^th, so highlf exalt^ above all things, that, in his spi- 
ritual powjer, he is absolute lord of all things. So that, 
no one thing can possibly hurt him in any way : nay, all 
things are subject unto him, and compelled to be subser- 
vient unto Ms salvation. As Paul saith, Rom. viii, ''All 
things work together for good unto the elect." Again, 
1 Cor. iii., ** M things are yours, whether death, or life, 
or things present, or things to come; and ye are Christ's." 

Not diat any Christian is ordained to hold, and have 
dominion over all things, in corporal power, (as certain 
mad Ecclesiastics every where furiously maintain,) for 
this dominion belongs to princes and rulers upon earth. 
And BMreover, we find by daily experience, that, in this 
sefeise, we are subject to all diings, endure many things, 
and even suffer death : nay, the greater Christian any 
one isy to the more evils, sufferings, and deaths, is h^ 
subjected : as we see in the great iirst-bora king Christ 
faimself, and in all his holy brethren. 

The power of which we arc speaking, is spiritual : 
which rules in the midst of enemies, and prevails in the 
OMdstof pressing trdubles: which is nodiing more or 
than strength made perfect in my weakness, and all 

AJDgs tnmii^ to my soul's profit : so that the croas, and 
kiSi itself, are compelled to serve me, and to work 
togedier onto my salvation. — ^This isa hi^and glorioaa 
(%uty, a power truly omnipotent, a spiritual dominion ! 
bwiuch, there is nothing, however good or however 
^efil, which shall not work together for my profit^ if I 
oh believe. Not, however, that I have any need of 
tbese diiAgs, (for fieuth alone sufficeth unto salvation,) 
hot that in them faith mav exercise the power and do- 
BBDicMi of its liberty. — Behold ! this is the unspeakable 
power and liberty of Christians ! 

Nor are we the most free of all kings only, but 
fnaU for ever and ever ! This is far more glorious 
than even the kingdom. For by our priesthood, we are 
Tortfay to appear in the presence of God, to pray for 
ocbers, and to instruct each other in the things of God« 
Fot tbese are the offices of priests, and which never can 
be permitted to any unbeliever. But Christ has obtained 
these for us, if we believe in him ; that, as we are 
betbren, heirs, and kings together with him, so we may 
be priests together with him also, having boldness with 
confidence, by the spirit of faith, to present ourselves 
before God, crying, " Abba Father," to pray for each 
other, and to do all those things, and perform all those 
offices for each other, which we see to be performed and 
rq)resented by corporal and visible priests. But he that 
bdieveth not, to him nothing can be subservient or work 
togedier for ffood, but be himself is the bond-slave of all 
tfanigs, and idl things work together for his destruction : 
beouise, he impiously uses aU things to his own profit, 
and not to the glory of God. And dierefore, he is not a 
priest but profane, whose prayer tendeth only unto sin ; 
DOT can he ever appear in the presence of God, for 
'' God heareth not sinners/' 

Who then can comprehend the greatness of the 
Christian's dignity ! He, by his kingly power, has domi- 
nion over life, death, sin, and all thincs ; and by his 
priestly power, is all-prevalent with God ; for God does 
whatever he asks ami desires of him ; as it is written» 


^ He will fulfil die desire of them that fear him ; he al^ 
will hear their cry, and will save them," Psalm cxlv. To 
this gidry, certain it is, that he attains not by any works, 
but by faith only ! 

from these things, any one may clearly fierceive how 
it is, that a Christian man is free from all things, and 
above all things, so that he wants no works in order to 
become righteous and saved ; — because faith alone abun- 
dandy supplies the place of all these. And if at any time 
lie should become such a fool as to presume to make 
himself righteous, free, saved, and a Christian, by any 
work, that moment he would lose faith, together with 
all saving benefits. Which folly is strikingly represented 
in that fable, where the dog, swimming across a stream, 
and carrying a piece of rc^ flesh in his mouth, is de- 
ceived by the shadow of that flesh appearing in the 
water; and in. attempting, with open mouth) to grasp 
at that, he loses both the rqal flesh and the shadow 

But, here you will ask, if all that are in the church 
of Christ be priests, by what name shall we distinguish 
those, whom we now call priests, from the laity? I 
answer — there is violation committed in our day upon 
these appellations, Priest, Minister, Ecclesiastic : they 
are taken from all other Christians, and given to a cer* 
tain select rabble who are called by the violated apfiella- 
tion, Ecclesiastics. The holy scripture makes no dif- 
ference between Christians ; except that, it calls those, 
who serve others in the ministry of the word, in teaching 
faith in Christ and the liberty of them that believe, 
ministers, servants, and stewards : (who are now digni- 
fied with the tides of popes, bishops, and lords.) For 
although it be true that we are all alike priests, yet we 
all cannot, and if we could, ought not to minister and 
teach publicly. And therefore Paul saith, 1 Cor. iv., 
" Let a man so account bf us, as ministers of Christ, 
and stewards of the mysteries of God." 

. jBut this dispensation ha$ now degenerated into such 
a plinnp of ^oWer, dnd such a terrific tyranny, that no 


empires of imtioiis, nor of the whole worid together. Hill 
bev any comparison with it : so that one would think 
the laity were any thing else but Christians. By which 
otter perversion, it has come to pass, that the knowledge 
of Christian grace, faith, and liberty, yea, of Christ al- 
tDgedier, has utterly disappeared ; and there has suc- 
ceeded in its place, an intolerable bondage-captivity of 
hanan works and ordinances ; and, according to the la- 
mentations of Jeremiah, we are made slaves to the most 
file of all men that are upon the fuce of the earth; who, 
abusing our misery, make us submit to all turpitude and 
igDominy according to their own lust. 

Bat to retam and sum up this first proposition. — I 
d&nk, from these things, it has been made sufficiently 
erident, that to preach the works, the life, and the words 
of Christ in an historical way, as things that once took 
phoe, and to form an external mode of life from the 
knowledge thereof, is not enougli to make a Christian ; 
as those preach, who are now considered to be the 
greatest men. Much less can the teaching of the ordi- 
nances of men, and the decrees of the fathers, where 
Christ is not preached at all, make a Christian. And 
there are at this day, not a few, who preach and read 
Christ, in order to move the human passions to condole 
wtdi him, and to vent an indignation against the Jews : 
togedier with many other puerile and etfcminate delu- 
sions of the same kind. 

Whereas Christ ought to be preached to this end — 
that faith in him may be drawn fortti ; that he may not 
only be Christ, but Christ to mCj and to thee ; and may 
work that in us which is spoken of him under the name 
of Saviour. And this faith is begotten and preserved by 
diis — by preaching why Christ came ; what he brought 
with him, and gave ; in what way, and to what end, he 
is to be receivwl. And this is done, where the liberty 
which we have in him, is taught ; where it is set forth, 
how it is, that all we who are Christians are kings and 
priests; how it is, that we are lords of all things; and how 
it is, that whatever we do, we have a confidence is pleasing 
and alxeptable unto God ; as I have before shewn. 


And wl^ofie heart, liearinfl these things, is not all 
g)iadnes6 within, and sweetened, under the enioyed con- 
solation, into die love of Christ? To which love, he 
never can attain by any laws or works. And who is 
there that can hurt such an heart, or cause such an one 
to fear? If consciousness of sin, or the horror bf dqath 
should rush upon him, he is prepared to hope in the 
Lord : nor is he afraid nor moved at these evil tidings> 
until he see his desire upon his enemies, Psalm cxii. For 
he believes that the righteousness of Christ is bis; and 
that his sin, is no longer his, but Christ's. And aU 
sin must be swallowed up before the face of the righte- 
ousness of Christ, by faith in him, as we have before ob- 
served. Thus he learns with the apostle to triumph over 
death and sin, and say, " O wave, where is thy victory ! O 
death, where is thy stins ! The sting of death is sin> end 
the strength of sin is me law. But thanks be to God 
which giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ our 
Lord,'* 1 Cor. xv., " For death is swallowed up in vic- 
tory : " not in the victory of Christ only, but ours also ; 
for it becomes ours by faith, and in it we also conquer. 

Suffice it to have spoken thus concerning the inward 
man, his liberty, and his glorious righteousness by fieuthy 
which needs neither laws nor good works ; nay, they 
tend to the destruction of any one, who should presume 
to be justified by them. 


Now let us come to the other part of our subject, 
the outward man. — Here an answer shall be given to 
all those, who,'beins offended at the word Faith, and all 
that is said to exsJt it, say, * If faith do all things, and 
alone suffice unto righteousness, why then are good 
works commanded. Contented with ^th therefore, let 
us be at rest, and do no works at all I ' — I answer, Not 
so ! ye ungodly, not so ! This would indeed be the case 
if we were renewed altogether, and perfectly and wholly 
spiritual : but this will not be till in the last day of the 
resurrection of the dead. As long as we live in the flesh, 


nodj begin^ mud grow a little in dial whtdi is to be 
perfected in die life to come. And therefore it is, that 
the apostle, Rom. viii., calls that which we have in this 
Gfe '^ the first-froits of the Spirit ; " intimating, that we 
diall recdve die tidies and fulness of the Spirit, in the 
Hewhidiis to come. 

To this part of oar subject, therefore, belongs that 
viich we laid down at the beginning as our Second 
PioposiTiox — **The Christian man is the most du- 
(M servant of all^ subject to all.'' For as to his spirit, 
vbidi is free, be worketh not ; but as to his body, in 
which he is subject, he woriieth all things ; and how 
this is, let as now consider. 

AMiongh the Christian man, as I have shewn, is, 
iiwaxdly, as to his spirit, fully and abundantly justified 
hr £iitfa, having all that he needs to have ; (except that 
1^ aborndandy filling faith itself, must be increased day 
by day, even unto the life to come,) yet, he still remains 
iD dus mortal life upon earth ; in which he must, of ne- 
cessity, govern his own body, and have intercourse with 
men. — Now here b^n good worlcs ! Here is no sitting 
down at ease ! Here, certainly, begins a care, that the 
body, by fastings, watchings, labourings, and other mo- 
derate discipline, be exercised and brought into subjec- 
tion to the spirit ; so that it may obey and be conformable 
to the inward man, and to faith, and ma)' not rebel or 
hinder; which it is its nature to do, if it be not restrained. 
For the inner man being by faith created conformable to 
God, and after the image of God, joys and takes plea- 
sure in him throu^ Chnst, in whom such a treasure of 
all good is laid up for him: and therefore all his concern 
is, mat be may be enabled gladly and willingly to serve 
God in the freedom of love, — While he strives to do 
this, behold ! he offends a contrary will in his own flesh, 
whidb lasts to serve the worid and fulfil its own desires. 
And this, the spirit of faith cannot endure, and will not ; 
and therefore, it struggles with ardent desire to repress 
and restrain it : accoromdy, as Paul saith, Rom. vii., *' I 
delight in the law of God after the inward man, but I see 
tnotber law in my membets warring against the law of 


my mind) and bringing me into captivity to the law of 
sin in my members." And so also in another place, 
^' But I keep under my body and bring it into sub- 
jection; lest after I have preached to others! ^Tf^^ 
should be a. cast-away." And again Gal. v., "They 
who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the afiec- 
tions and lusts." 

But these works are not to be done with this opi- 
nion, — that, by them,, any one may become ri^teous 
before God ; for this fedse opinion faith will not endure, 
which alone is righteousness before God ; but they are 
to be done with tms view only, — that the body mi^ be 
brought into subjection and purified from its lusts ; so 
that its eye might never be so much as turned, but with 
a d^ire to shun concupiscence. For as the soul is 
purified by faith and made to love God, it would that 
all things were^ purified together with it, especially its 
oMni body, that all things might join with it in loving 
and praising God. Hence it is that the man, from • the 
urgent necessity which he feels in his own body, can 
never be at ease, but is compelled, on that account, to 
do many good works in order to bring his body into sub- 
jection. And yet, he does not look upon these works as 
making him righteous before God, but he does them in 
the freedom of love in obedience to God ; having 
nothing else in view but the divine good pleasure, to 
which he would be most dutifully conformed in all 

In this case, every one will be able to judge for himself, 
and use his own discretion (as they say; as to what mea- 
sure he ought to mortify his body ; for he will fast, watch, 
and labour, so much, as he shall judge necessary to re- 
press the lasciviousness and concupiscence of the body. 
But they who presumptuously imagine to become right- 
eous by works, look not to tfie mortification of concu- 
piscence, but to the works themselves : and if they have 
done very many and great works, they imagine that they 
are in a good state, and are become righteous. And 
they sometimes go so far in this working zeal, as to 
affect their brain, and destroy their constitution; or at 

:to rmdar ir unerriceable ; which h the greatnt 
Uf And ignorance of the Cbmiiaji life and of Ikitb — 
10 desire to be justified and saved by works, wttiK 

But, di&l what we have Mid ccmcerning works may 

b the more easily uDderstood^ lal us explain the matter 

bf nulicodesk — ^The works of a Christjan man, then, 

JHtfed and saved by the free grace and pun? mercy of 

God« throiigh his fiuth, ought to l>e considered in no 

idler light, than the works of Adam and Eve in paraf- 

dae^ and of all their ehildren, would have been, had 

sker never stnned. Concerning which it is said, Geti« ti., 

^ <jod placad the man whom be had created in para- 

fiu^tiiat lie aright work in it, and keep it." Now Adam 

nfoealed of God just^ npright, and without nin; ao 

tbi he had no need of this v and keeping in 

«der to become upright and junt.iitv*^ but God gave 

taa this amployment of tilling and keeping pamidiae, 

fbt he aai^t not live at ea^e ; i% hich would have been 

mrks of perfect freedom, performed with no other view 

thm doing tbe good-pleasure of God ; not in order to 

the attainment of righteousness, for that he had already 

la ibe fitU^ and the same all we should have inherited by 

latBie. — So it is with the works of the believing man^ 

akv by his faith, is placed again in paradise, and created 

iBBw; be needs not works in order to be, or to become, 

i^blaoiia; but, that he might not live at ease, and that 

hemi^ exercise and preserve hts oun body, there are 

woika of the same liberty enjoine<l him ; which are to 

he done, ooky with a view to the good-will of God, Ex- 

oqfit thai, our graces of Faitli and Iaw(% though created 

mew, not being fully perfected, must be inrr** ■ - '* : yet, 

not by works, but by growing in the graces i ves. 

Again, for further example — a holy liishup win n he 
oonsecrales a church, or confirms children, or |>ertarms 
any other part of his official duty, is not consecrated a 
bUiO|> by tbe performance of those wurk^ : nay, unless 
he wCTe first consecrated a bishop, no one of tho*>e works 
woold be of any avail, but would Ix; foolish, puerile, and 
ladicrooa. — So the Christian being ciinsecrated by his 


faith, do^ good worics; but he is not by these made 
moie hdyi or made a ChnQtian, fof tms is of faith 
alone : nay,, unless he first believed and were a CYvm- 
tian, all his works would be of no avail whatevier, but 
would, in truth, be impious and damnable sins. 

These two sayings, therefore, ate true, — •* Good 
works do not make a good man, but a good nmh makes 
good works/ ^ Evil works do not make an evfl maq, 
but an evil man makes evil works/ — So that, the sub- 
stance itself, or perscxi, must always be first good; befiire 
all good works; and good workd must folkyw and 
proceed from the good person: as Christ alsa.saith, 
^^ An evil tree cannot bring forth good firuit, Deithei can 
a good tree bring forth evil fruit" For . it is evident, 
that the fruits do not bring forth the trees^ nor the trees 
grow out of the fruits ; but, on the cotttrary^ the trees 
bring forth the fruits, and the fruits gn>w out of the 
trees. As therefore die trees must, of necessity, eatiat 
before the fruits, and the fruits can neither make the 
trees good nor bad, but on the contrary, such ae the 
trees are such the fruits must be ; so, must it also of ne- 
cessity, be, that the person of the man must be good far 
bad, before he can make a good or bad work, and ihat, 
the works do not make him bad or good,, but he makes 
the works bad or good. 

The same may be seen in every kind of workmanr 
ship. A bad or good house does not make a bad or good 
builder, but a good or bad builder makes a good or bad 
bouse. And, to speak universally, no work can make the 
workman like itself^ but the workman makes the wcnrk 
like himself. So it is with the works of men, such as the 
Hi^n. is himself, either in fiuth or unbelief, such is his 
work ; good, if done in faith ; if done in unbelief, evil. 
For as works cannot make the man a believer, they 
cannot make him righteous : but £dth, as it makes him 
§L believer, and righteous, so does it make his works 
good works. 

As, therefore, good works can make no one righteous, 
and as the man must be first righteous before he can do 
any good work, it is most manifest, that it is fisdth alone 

mercy of God through Christ in ms trc 
Ibify and gloriously justifies and saves tlie person ; 
that no work, no Christian law whatever, is neces- 
for a man unto salvation. For by faith he is free 
every law ; and whatever he does, he does from 
liberty and freedom ; seeking nothing of advantage 
' fMdvation thereby, but only the good pleastsre of God ; 
he is already full and saved by the grace of God 
his faith, 
lence^ no good work whatever of the unbeliever 
*th unto righteousness and salvation ; even as, on the 
it is not any evil work that makes him evil or 
^le ; but it is the unbelief that makes the person 
the tree evil, and the works evil and damnable also. 
ivA therefore, a man's being good or bad, does not arise 
any works, but from faith or unbelief: as Sirach 
Eccles. X., '* The beginning of sin is departing 
God :*' that is, falling from faith. And Paul also 
leb. xi,, saith, *' He that cometh must believe/' And 
Christ saith the same thing, ** Either make the tree good 
ttid its fiiiit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its 
fruit comipt/' As though he had said, he Mho would 
have good fruit, must begin from the tree, and plant 
that good* So, he who would do good works, must 
not by working, but by believing ; since it is this 
that makes the person good. For nothing makes 
person good^ but faith ; and nothing makes it evil but 

This indeed is true, tfiat, in the sight of men, a man 
good or evil according to his works : this how- 
r, b only the being out^vardly seen and known, who 
and who is evil: as Christ saith, Matth. vii,, 
iy their fruits ye shall know them." But this is all in ap- 
ice and externals, in which very many are deceived ; 
taking upon themselves to write of, and teach good 
works, as the way in which men are justified, at the same 
make no mention of faith whatever; following their 
1 ways; deceiving and being deceived; becoming worse 
I worse; blind leaders of the blind ; wearying themselves 


with many, works, and never able to attain unto tnie 
ri^teousness : concerning whom Paul saith, 1 Tim. iii., 
^' Ilaving the form of godliness, but denying the power 
thereof.' ^' Always learning, and never able to come to 
the knowledge of the truth/ 

He therefore that would not err with these blind oneSi 
must look beyond doings, laws, and doctrines of works ; 
yea, he must turn away his eyes from works altogether, 
and look to the person, how that can be justified — which 
can be justified and saved, neither by laws, nor by works, 
but by the word of God, (that is, the pro miseof his 
grace,) and by faith.— That the glory of the divine Ma- 
jesty might stand maintained ; which saves us, *^ not by 
works ofrighteousness that we have done, but according 
to his own mercy *' through our believing the word of his 

From these things it may be clearly understxK)d, in 
what sense good works are to be rejected or embraced, 
and according to what rule the doctrines of all men con- 
cerning works are to be understood. For if. works be 
compared with righteousness, and if thou presume to do 
them under that perversion . of the devil, a false per«ia- 
sion that by them thou mayest become ri^teous, they 
thus impose a necessitous bondage, and destroy both li» 
berty and faith together. Nay, from this false persuasi(m 
being added, the works are no longer good, but, in truth 
damnable ; for they are not done in liberty, and they 
blaspheme the grace of God, who alone justifies and 
saves by faith : which works, though they cannot effect, 
yet they attempt it, and thus presumptuously rush upon 
the work of grace and the glory of it. 

We do not therefore reject good works, but, on the 
contrary, we strenuously mantain and teach them : for 
we do not condemn the works for themselves, but for 
that impiously added false opinion of seeking righteous- 
ness by them : by which, they are made to have the ap- 
pearance of good only, when in reality they are not good ; 
and thus, by them, men are deceived themselves, and 
. deceive others, as ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing. 

this tievii, tnis pcrvenie opmion concenttng wc 
there b qo real faith^ u insuperable; for it camiat 
k b^lcD oal of ^ose holy workmen, antil taith its d^ 
moyer come mnii plant it< kiugdom in tlie hc^rL Na* 
BR berself cannot dri%c it out, nor even know what it 
ii: nay, she ccm^iders it to Le a nio^t holy and obedient 
vilL And wberc custom has long prevailed and con* 
faaed this depravity of nature, {d^s is the case under 
ncked teachers^) it is an evil incurable, and seduci^ and 
«Bili tboasands to irremediable perdition. 

Wlierefore, although it is good tu preach and write 
Qfrqieotmnce, confessiont and satisfaction; yet, if there 
hri stopptog here, and no going on to teach faith, tljc^e 
jfl ctiiyes are, without doubt, delunive and devilii^h. 
Hence Christ, ttigether with his servant John, not only 
«kiy ** Repcotye,'' but added the word of faith, saying, 
** Tile kingdom of iieaven is at liand/' — ^For not one 
put of God's wotd only, but both must be preached: 
itv, as well as old, must be brought fordi out of the 
tteisitre : the voice of the law, as well as die word of 
pace* The voice of the law must be sounded fordi, that 
aoi may be alarmed and brought to a knowledge of 
Adr sins, and then converted unto rcj^entance and new> 
mm of life. But diere must not be a stopping here ; for 
llbl would lie, to wound witliout binding up; to smite, 
vidmnt healing; to kill, without making alive ; to brin^ 
ibwQ to die gates of bcU, and not to ratse up; to cast 
down, without exalting. Tli the word of grace 

and of the promise of rt..,. a of sins must be 
fMtadied to teach and build up faith ; without which^ 
liie law, i^n, repentance, and every tliitig else, 

wiHbe tau^..- ,.:iJ wrought in vain- 
There still remain, indeed, preachers of repentance 
and grace, but thev do not set forth the law of Go<) and 
the promise in that nay, and with that spirit, that the\r 
bearers may learn w hence repentance and grace come : 
far repeoCance comes by the law, but fuith or grace 
kr the proroi^e of Ciod : as the apostle saith, Hum. x., 
'* Faidi cometb by hearing, and hearing by the word of 


Christ." Hence it is, that the man, who, by the threat- 
enings and fear of the divine law, is brought low, and 
cast down into the knowledge of himielf, is comforted 
and raised up by faith in the divine promise : as in 
Psalm XXX., " Weeping shall endure until the night, and 
joy until the morning." — So far have we spoken con- 
x;eming works in general, and those also which the 
Christian works in his awn body. 

We will now, in the list place, speak of those works 
which he worjcs toward his neighbour. — For man does 
not live for himself alone in mis mortal body, and to 
work in it only, but he lives for all men upon tfie earth.; 
yea, he lives for others only, and not for himself ; for he 
brings his body into subjection, to the very end that he 
may be able to serve others more sincerely, and more 
freely : as Paul saith, Rom. xiv., " None of us liveth 
unto himself, and no man dieth unto himself; for he that 
liveth, liveth unto the Lord ; and he that dieth, dieth 
unto the Lord.** And therefore, it is impossible that he 
can live at ease in this life, and without doing works to- 
ward his neighbours ; for he must of necessity converse, 
act, and have intercourse with men ; even as Christ was 
made in our likeness, and found in fashion as a man, 
and had intercourse with men : as Baruch iii. saith. 

But yet he has no need of these things unto righteous- 
ness ancl salvation. Therefore, in all his works he ought 
to be in this mind, and to have only this view — that, in 
all things whatever he does, he serve and profit others ; 
having nothing before his eyes, but the necessity and 
profit of his neighbour. For thus the apostle commands 
us to labour with our hands, " that we may have to giv^ 
to him that needeth." Whereas he might have said, that 
we may have wherewith to nourish ourselves — but no ! 
he saith also " hun that needeth." For it is a part of 
Christianity to take care of the body for this very end, 
th^ by its health and powers we may labour, earn, and 
la5^ up that, which may supply the necessity of those who 
are in need ; that thus, the member that is strong may 
iterve the member that is weak ; that we may be the sons 

dhm M fbltilling tlie laM 

BehaU, this in the true Chrblian life \ Ht 
tm*' V ' hich vrorketh by !ov . which goes 

ierik^ , and delight in the yctiect hmh^ 

Ibh ; "* it Mnre^ its tie^boar freely and spotitaiiecMislY» 
iamm its o%%'n trea.<^iire t« richly tilted, with the ovofw 
Mngabondance iirliich it posiesses hy tkith. a 

Heoce PaoI, when he Imd made it evident to tliat 
Ai|ipiui> ' rich they were hy the tlaith oi Chrati^ 
hmkh tilt- ,1 f>o9aeff«ioQ of all things goe§ cm toacU 
Miish them« sayhigt '' If therefore there be any ooo* 
flittlNi in ^ " ' ^ if any tv^mfort of Inve, if any feUow* 
A^of th . fuHif ye my joy : — that yc be Uke 

aiDded ; h r he same love, being of one accord^ of 

tm wiiod ; u^^uig ncithhije thi^gh conlentfaiik or vain 
pmf. hot each in hamtNemiudcdnesd eitMming other 
hnerchan hinuielf; and eacli ronsklerini;« not his own 
Hangs, b«' ' ' -fher.' I^ phiinly> 

ikttfiei , the apf f rjcotisiit 

miti$ — f1 i all our works for the benefit of others,^ 

tataase, e ^i all him 

other wofL^ .___,. abounding 

M M hi gfty which he may devote i%iti ineow bMi^ 

faknee to th*^ i ben'-tit r»t his n*^ighboafl— ^H# 

An, moreen. Lu i :.-. forward Chri<^ as an examplej 
Bfingr ** Let this mind be in you, which was also in 
Gbrat J^ms, Who, being it ^ rm of God, Itiooriil 
itaot robbery to be equal vv .,, . d* Nevertheless^ Hd 
oade himself of no repotation, and took upon him the 
fatm of a scrvaoti and ^v i - in the likri menf 

tad, being foand in fan.. .. ^ a man, he i „.,.- obe^ 
dient tinto death/-^Thts most healthful admonition hni 
been \ who, not at ull under- 

«ahri L :i,., **formof (imV '*fonn 

rfa ii" and " likeness of men/* have 

it ' jf human 

IV . . .„ L iL .,, :.. .. i^ . , .ialChri*!t, 

diQiigli he was full in his foiin of God, and abounding 




in «H good, so that he wanted no work or suffering in 
order to his becoming righteous and saved, (for he had 
all these thingjs immediately from the beginning of him- 
.self ) ; yet, was not puffed up with these, nor lifted up 
above us, nor did arro^te to himself a certain power 
over us, (although he might have done that by right ;) 
but that, on the contrary, he condescended so to labour, 
suffer, and die, that he might become like other men, 
and in form and fashion nothing more than a man, as 
though he had need of these things, and had nothing of 
the form of God ; and that, he did all this for us, Uiat 
he might serve us, and that all those things might 
become ours which he did in this form of a servant. 

So the Christian, being by his faith complete and 
fiill, like Christ his head, oug|;it to be satisfied with this 
** form of God " which he has obtained by faith :— {except 
that, as I have before observed, he ought to increase 
this same faith until it be perfected ; for this faith is his 
iife, his righteousness, his salvation ; preserving his person 
and rendering it acceptable, and making him a partaker 
of all that Christ possesses; as we have shewn before, and 
as Paul affirms Gal. i., saying, ^^ The life that I now live 
in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God : ") — 
but yet, although he is thus free from all works, he ou^t, 
nevertheless, in this his liberty, to make himself of no 
reputation, to take upon him the form of a servant, to 
be made in the likeness of men, to be found in fashion 
as a man, to serve, to help, and in all things to do* unto 
his neighbour, as he sees God has done, and still does, 
for Christ's sake, unto him : and that freely, and with- 
out any thing else in view than doing the good- will ot 
God. — He ought to think thus with himself — Behold 1 
here am I an unworthy and condemned wretch, and my 
God has, of his own pure and free mercy, without any 
deserving on my part, given unto me in Christ all the 
riches of ri^teousness and salvation : so that, I want 
no one thing else whatever, but faith to believe that this 
really is so. Unto such a Father, therefore, who has 
more than filled me with these his inestimable riches, 

ICT ?' Shan I not fredy. 

:wMi M 

mj heart, aix) with spcmUmeous desire, do whatew 
mm ts acceptable and utell-ptea^ing in hi!i si^t? 
SoidT, tbcn» I will give my^lf as a certain Christ to my 
Kiriibotrr. even as Christ Ims given himiclf ti> me. I 
w do nothing in thU% life^ but that which shall be to 
■j^oeigbbour's senrice, profit^ or * n; and that, 

hscaase br faith, I possess an abaD4Ui»ci. of all good in 

Has you see, from fieuth, flow love and gladness in the 
Lord ; and from love, a happy, willing, and free spirit 
Id icrve a neighbour »pontanef ni^ly ; and that, without 
IB? regard to gratitude or i dc, praise or blame, J 

pn or loiis. Nor, in ^1^.. *^ licjes, has it any eye 
Id gaining the favoar of men, nor does it make any 
*^* *f>n between friends and enemies, nor has it any 
to the grateful or ungrateful ; but with the iit- 
freedom and wilHngncss, it devotes botli itself and 
property, whether they prove to be lost upon the 
ffit ,^r iiven to tlje deserving. And even as the 
Of >ie son does, distributing freely and ahun- 

ly all ihings to all, '* causing his sun to ri»e upon the 
and upon the unjust ; " so Uie son docs notliing, and 
nothing, but with that free j^adness in which he 
ts, through Christ, in God, who has freely given 
^uch exceedingly great things. 
You see, therefore, that when we once know those 
ingly great and precious things, (as Peter saith) 
iichajB frieely' given unto us, love i^ thereupon largely 
" shroiul in our hearts by the Holy Gho^t : under 
influence of which, we arc free and happy, all-aficct- 
workmen, overcoraers of all tribulation, the servants 
oor neighbours, and yet, nevertheless, lords af all 
p. Whereas, tho5e who know not these lliinas as 
y grren unto them through Christ, to them, Christ 
k born in vain : these, wander in the ways of workings 
shall never attain unto a knowledge and ta*ite of 
things. As therefore our neighl>our has necesj*ity, 
ud steads In need of our abundance ; bo we once bad 

I a boi 


Iieo60sity beforq God, fmd stocxl in need of his raerfy. 
iApd lEis our heavenly Father has freely supplied our ne- 
cessities in Christ; so we ought, by our body and its 
industry, freely to supply the necessity of our neighbour^ 
bnd each to become to the other a certain Christ ; that 
we may be all as one in Christ, and Christ one in us all; 
that is, that we may be true Christians, 
r Who then can comprehend the riches and the glory 
of the Christian life ! It possesses and can do all thijras 
wanting nothing itself; the royal conqueress of sin, deaSi 
^Lnd hdl; and yet, at the same time, an handmaid 
humbly subservient and profitable to all ! But this kind 
,of Christian life, alas! in this our day, is scarcely known, 
preached, or sought after, throughout the whole world : 
BO that, we have oursdves utterly forgotten our own 
name, why we are, and are called, Christians ! But surely 
we are to called from Christ, not absent from us, but 
dwelling within us ; that is, by our believing in him, and 
'4)6coming, through an union of love, a Christ to each 
other, doing uilto pur neighbours as Christ does unto us. 
Whereas now, by the introduction of the doctrines of 
men, mc are taught to seek nothing but merits, rewards, 
and the things of self; and of Christ, we have made 
nothing but an exactor by far more rigid than even 
Moses himsdLf. 

Of this same faith the Blessed Virgin, above all 
others, has afforded us an example. She, as it is re- 
ccMrded Luke ii., was purified according to the law of 
Moses, after the custom of all women, even when she 
was not bound by any such law, and had no need of 
being purified : to tlie law, nevertheless, she subjected 
herself willingly, and <\\ith free love, submitting to be 
knade like unto other women, lest she should ofiend or 
despise themi 3he was not therefore justified by this 
work, but, being justified, she did it in freedom; and 
liberty. After the same manner ought our works to be 
done, not in order to our becoming justified thereby, but, 
being first justified by faith, we ought to do all thisig^ 
freely and cheerfiilly for the sake of others. 



m After the same example also Paul drcutncised bi^' 
diwple T-r-**-': not because he had need of circum* 
qUoo unti ^ jusuess, but that he might not offend or 
! those Jews who were weak in faith, and who could 
receive the liberty of faith. But on the contrary, 
ihey contemned die liberty of faith, and urged cir- 
as necessary unto righteousness, he resisted 
and would not suffer Titus to be circumcised, 
And as in the one instaince, he was careful not 
or despise the weakness of any one in the faith, 
with them for a time ; so, in the other, he would 
*r the Ulierty of faith to be offended and despised 
hardened justiciaries : thus persevering in the middle 
Iff sparing the weak for a time, but resisting the hard- 
ttoto the end, that he might convert all to the li- 
jberly of £uth* With the same mind ought our works to 
oone, that we may receive them that are weak in the 
ith» as we are admonished, Rom. xiv., but resist hard- 
task-masters determmately unto the end : of which 
* shall speak more largely hereafter. 
So also Christ himself, Matth. xvii, — When the tn- 
money was demanded of his disciples, he discoursen 
II Peter concerning it ; asking him, whether the sol- 
lof liings were not free from paying tribute? Peter an- 
in the affirmative. Nevertheless, he commanded 
to go the sea ; saying, ** lest we should offend them, 
thou, and the tish that 6rst comedi up, take ; and 
i tbou bast opened his moutli, thou shalt And a piece 
'money; that take, and give unto them, for me, and 
tbee/' — This example sweetly makes to oor purpose; 
which, Christ calls himself and his disciples free, and 
sons of the King, who could stand in need of nothing: 
► he w illingly submits himself, and pays tribute. 
much, therefore, as this work was necessary and 
liable for Christ unto righteousness and salvation, 
so much are all the other works of himself and his, 
lable unto righteousness : for they are all free works, 
follow righteousness already possessed, being done 


only in conform% to the custom of, and for an example * 
tO| others. ^ 

Of the same nature are those admonitions which - 
Paul gives Rom. xiii. and Htus iii., that Christians i 
should be " subject to the higher powers," and, " pre- a 
pared unto every good work : " not in order to become a 
righteous thereby, for they are already righteous by i 
faith ; but that, by these works they may, in the liberty 9 
of the spirit, senre their neighbours, and the higher powers, i 
and be conformed to their will in all the freedom of love. 

' And such ou^t to be the works of all colleges, mo- ! 
nasteries, and priesthoods : that each one should perform 
the duties of lus profession and station, not with a view 
of becoming righteous thereby, but solely of bringing his 
body into subjection, as an example unto others, who 
have need to mortify their bodies also. And^en, more- 
over, that he might solely yield obedience unto others, 
by an humble conformity to their will, in the freedom of 
love : having, nevertheless, this ever most carefully in 
mind, that no one, through a vain confidence, presume 
to become righteous, meritorious, and saved, by these 
things, which, as I have repeatedly shewn, are by faith 

Whoever therefore has this knowledge, may easily, 
and without danger, conduct himself through all those 
countless ordinances and precepts of the pope, of bishops, 
monasteries, churches, princes, and magistrates : which 
some ignorant pastors so urgently enforce, as though they 
were necessary unto righteousness and salvation, calling 
them the ordinances of the church, when indeecl they are 
nothing less. But the free Christian will say thus — I 
will fast, I will pray, I will do this thing and the other, 
which is commanded of men, not because it is necessary 
unto my righteousness and salvation, but because I will 
therein conform myself to the pope, or the bishop, or 
that community, or that magistrate, or to my neighbour, 
for an example : yea, I will do and suffer all things, after 
the example of Christ, who did and suftered much more 


far me, fthough he himself needetl none of those thfogs ;) 
beiDg made under the law for me, when he was not under 
tfeliLw* And even if tyrants should exact tfiese things of 
me by force and unjust authority, yet, I wil) not rebel, 
pfQ\ided that it be not against the glory of God, 

From all these observations, then, any one will be 

Rbled to form a right judgment of, and to make a faith- 
dt&titictinn between, all works and laws ; and discern 
I are blind and ignorant, and wlm are true anil faith- 
m pastors. For whatever work is not taught to these 
md& only, either to the mortifying of the botiy, or to the 
piofit of our neighbour, (provided that nothing be en- 
farted against the glory of (Jod,) is neither a good work, 
Bor a Christian work. And hence, I very much fear, 
whether many, or indeed any, of the collegiate, monas- 
tic sacramental, and ecclesiastical duties of the present 
day^ have any thing at all of Christianity in them. And 
I may add to these, all the fastings, and particular 
to certain saints ; I very much fear, I say* whe- 
in all these things, we are not seeking our own 
lit only, and thinking at the same time, that by these 
^ our sins are washed away and salvation found : 
and tlius, the Christian liberty is utterly destroyed : 
which ever comes to pass through an ignorance ot the 
Christian faith and liberty. 

This blind ignorance and suppression of liberty is, 
moreover, sedulously confirmed by those innumerable, 
totally blinded pastors, while they seduce and urge people 
OD to these devoted services, by extolling them in the 
t, and puffing them olf with their forgivenesses, but 
leaching faith. But let me give thee this counsel — 
If tbou wouldst at all pray, or fast^ or found churches, 
(as it is called,) take heed that thou do it not with a vie%v 
of obtainiBg tliereby to thyself any advantage, either 
temporal^ or eternal : for thou wilt thus do an injury to 
dqf &ith« which alone furnishes thee with all things : and 
therefore, thy care should be, how thy faith only may be 
increased, whether exercised in working or in suffering. 
Giwe. therefore, what thou givest, freely and willingly, 


to the end that others may be increased and benefitted 
by thy bounty : thus thou wilt be a truly good man and 
a Christian. For what are all those superabounding 
works to thee, which are wrought in the mortifying of 
thy body, when thy treasure already runneth over by 
thy faith, in which God hath given thee all things ? 

Behold ! then, by this rule, whatever good things we 
have received of God, ought to flow from one to the 
other, and become common ; and every one should put 
on his neighbour, and so conduct himself toward him, as 
if he were in his stead. For all things have flowed, and 
still continue to flow, unto us from Christ, who so put 
on us, and wrought for us, as if he himself had been what 
we are; and from us they flow unto all that have need of 
them. And hence, it becomes me to present my faith 
and righteousness before God in praying for the pardon 
and the covering of the sins of my nei^bour ; which I 
ought so to take upon myself, and so to labour and 
travail under, as though they were my own: for 90 
Christ did for us. This is true love, and the true rule of 
the Christian life ; and this true and real life there will 
be, where there is true and real faith. Hence the 
apostle, 1 Cor. xiii., makes this a property of love, that 
she " seeketh not her own." 

We conclude, therefore, that the Christian man liveth 
not in himself, but in Christ, and in his neighbour, or, 
he is not a Christian at all : in Christ by faith, in his 
neighbour by love. By faith, he is raised above hi«iself 
into God ; and again, by love, he is humbled below him- 
self into his neig)bbour ; yet, ever standing in God and 
his love : as Christ saith, John i., *^ Verily, verily, I say 
unto you, hereafter shall ye see the heavens open, and 
the anffels of God ascending and descending upon the 
Son of man." 

Thus have I sufiiciently shewn what Christian liberty 
is : which, as you see, is spiritual, and real : making our 
hearts free from all sins, commands, and laws whatever : 
as Paul testifies, } Tim. i., ^' The law was not made for 
a rij^teous man." This i^ as far above all other external 


, as the heavens am k^er than the ewth ; ami 
mj Christ enable ub lo uoderalaiid it, aod hold it &st. 


la Gooclusioii. — On account ui uii>^t% wbo« althou^ 
iiaip be never ao well «pokea, are ^iire to \HT\rrf every 

rilftil mi 

ujidm^ W€ 

ot lilt 

tkn^, in 
-e to 


hrag; if perHfi- - uiey 

Ibtte are very i. tio. \m 

■wcdialety abuse it to an 

it for giEBiited at ooct^ thai un iuMip 

is, and having no de$ire to lie iVa^ a? 

mj otber way, than in cootcjoninK, und i^pcaking t 

lifanniao cer^ 

Ikfinsre Uk 

teoa certain day^, or chu^e to eat meat^ whik others 

Ittt; - - ' '^rase they r -^ - ^' *-rr" - • : - - nd 

OMiieri -ly deride a: y 

■f at the aame time ibeni^lvee pemng by all tlie 
l^l^y esMtitials of the r^- fjm religion.^ — T1 
ipo^ afe most obstinately i^ ) »v i\\mc in the ^ 

eame, who are laborioiisly mi r salvatian, by a 

ieMed obdervance and revcreiKx * i Huinan cer^^ - - 
cniy; As thoiigh they would tlier^tore be ^!< 
mam tb^ fast on ^ttit^ day^, or ab^taill from t »r 

ny oeitain r--- — - --—^i'"" -: '^^^ L;..i.. t ^ ,„,^. 
iuicea of ihc >uine 

tisiep setting entireiy u nought thi)se things wliich are 
evideol^ rei 

* ' rciore are 
ne each 


■ -th of thf 

e, whiU 

noise for tritlet» «^nd non- 

'"'' by the weightier mutters 

OTilmiding ' 
fgetials, tti 
that am esse: 

How much more ri^i 
iw to walk in the middle ^^iv, ^i***l contir- -^ ♦- »»^ rropfl- 
0D3 extremes ; saying, '' Let mil him tli (j^apiie 

him that ealcih not; and let not him that tatedi pqU 

^ iht* apo!>tle Piiul teach 
\{\ corn It 



judge him that eateth/' Rom. xiv. Here you see, those 
who omit and speak evil of ceremonies, not from holy 
principle, but from mere contempt, are rebuked by 
the apostle, where he admonishes them, not to " despise ;" 
seeing it is knowledge that puffs them up. On the other 
hand, he admonishes those others who zealously resist 
these, not to ^^ judge;" for neither of them are, in the 
meantime, observing that charity which edifieth. Where- 
fore, upon these points, we must be guided by the script 
ture : which directs us, neither to turn to the ri^t hand 
nor to the left, but to follow the righteous judgments of 
the Lord, which alone rejoice the heart. lot as no one 
is righteous because he obeys, and cleaves to, works, rites 
and ceremonies; so neither will any one therefore be 
accounted righteous, because he omits and despises them 

For we are not, by faith in Christ, freed from works, 
but frt)m the false opinion of works : that is, from the 
ignorant presumption of seeking to become righteous by 
works. For it is friith that delivers, rules, and keeps om* 
consciences : under the experience of which, we know 
that righteousness lies not in works, although works 
ought not to be, and cannot be, utterly excluded. For as, 
wiuiout meat and drink and the universal exercise of 
this mortal body, we cannot exist, although our righte- 
ousness lies not in these things but in &th, and yet, 
these things cannot, on that account, be utterly excluded 
and despised ; so are we compelled, from the nature and 
necessity of this mortal life, to remain in the world, al- 
though we become not righteous thereby. '^ My king- 
dom (said Christ) is not from hence :" that is, of this 
world. But he did not say, my kingdom is not here : 
that is, in this world. And so Paul saith : ^^ For thou^ 
we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh,'* 
2 Cor. X. Again, Gal. i., " The life that I now live in 
the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God." There- 
fore, as to our acting, living, and being in the midst of 
works and ceremonies, the nature of mis life, and the 
clue care and government of our bodies, of necessity re- 

fote MfSKBS^K~we becooie not 
AiAgif bot by faith id the Son of God* 

The Christian^ therefoffE, must here bold the niiddki 
nft and have ever before him these two kinds of meii* 
For he will come in contact, either with ^tiffneckcd aod 
hnieoed cerwncmtalists, who^ like d^f adders, wilt not 
km oi the true literty, but urgently enforce, witliout 
Uh, and insist upon, their works and ceremonie!!, and 
kM of them as righteoiisiiess : like the Jews of old, who 
not imderstaiid that they mif^ do well. These 
be reajrtad, opposed, and delenninately offended ; 
lat, hy this impiotis opinioo, they should deceive ntini- 
WMOthen together with themselves. Before the eyea 
we shoaid eat meati^, exclude fiisttngp^ and do 
' thtiigs id defence of the liberty of faith, which they 
' to be the greatest stns. Of these we are to my^ 
^Let them alone, they be blind, and leaders of the 
ttad.** Far it was in this spirit that Paul would not 
nfc Titus to be circomcisetl when the*^ urged the ne- 
MBty of it ; and Chri.^t defended his dLsciples in their 
|iliirkiiig die ears of com on the sabbath-day. With 
Hay omer examples of tlie «>anie kind. 

— Or« be will meet with die simple, the unexpe- 
■BMed, the ignorant, and the weak in faitli (as Paul 
cdb them) wlu> aimoC yet receive this liberty of faith, 
ciea tlioo^ they would. These mast be spared lest they 
Aoald be offended ; and their infirmity must be borne 
ailk tiU they shall have been more fully iuu^ht. And 
they do not act and think wrong from hardened 
but from weakness of faith alone, we must, to 
giving them offence, observe fa^' -rjd other 

which they consider to be essentj uers: for 

nm charity requires, which hurts no one, but serves 
For the weakiiess of these, is not from their own 
but from the fault of their pastors, who have taken 
captive and shamefully entreated them, by the 
and influence of their* tmdttioi " m which 
must be delivered and healed by >< trine of 

and liberty : so the apostle, Rom. xiv., ** If my 


meat maketh my brother to otfend, I will eat no meat 
while the world standeth." . And again, '^ I know that 
through Christ there is nothing unclean, but to him tliat 
thinketh it to be unclean-^but it is evil to that man who 
eateth with offence." 

Wherefore, although we must determinately resist 
these teachers of traditions, and sharply contend against 
the laws of popes, by which they would break in upon 
the liberty of the people of God; yet, we must spart 
those weak and fecurful ones, whom these wicked tyrants 
hold captive under their laws, until they shall be disen- 
tangled from them. Therefore, resolutly contend against 
the wolves and for the sheep ; but not against the sheep 
at the same time ; which thou wilt do, if thou inveigh 
against the laws and lawgivers, and yet, at the same time, 
bear >vith them in the weak, lest they should be ofi^ded, 
until they themselves shall discover the tyranny they ar6 
under, and come to the knowledge of their liberty. 

But if thou wilt use thy liberty, do it in secret : as 
Paul saith Rom. xiv. The faith that thou hast in thine 
own experience, have before God ; but take heed thiat 
thou use it not before the weak. On the other hand, use 
die same before the tyrants and stifihecked, to the open 
contempt of them, and that, with the utmost 6rmne88 of 
determination ; tteit they themselves may know that tliey 
are under sin, and that their laws are of no avail mito 
righteousness ; nay, that they had no ri^t whatever to 
maike those laws. 

Since, therefore, this life cannot go on without cere* 
monies and works ; nay, since the heated and inexpe^ 
rienced age of young persons has need to be curbed and 
guarded by these restraints ; and since each one must, 
by the same means^ mortify his own body ; a minister 
of Christ must be prudent and faithful : that he may so 
rule and teach the people of Christ in all these thingsi, 
that their conscience and faith be not offended, and d^t 
HO false opinion or root of bitterness spring up in them, 
and thereby many be defiled, (as Paul warns the H^ 
brews :) that is, that they lose not faith, and begin to be 


hy & &lse opiQton of works, as that tfiey are by 
fam to oecome rigtiteous. Which evili^ ^noti take plaee, 
od defile nmny, unless fatth be per^evertn(^ly insisted 
m; DOT can thi^ possibly be avoided whei^ faith is btx- 
mi m stieoce, and the ordinanees of men (inly, tnctii- 
cued: which has hitherto ever been clone by th<t^ pea^ 
deot, iiDpioaSt soul-miirrlering traditionit of oitr popes, 
aid the opinioEis of oar theologians, who have, in these 
sts^ dragg^ sools innunierable into hell : so that yoa 
W ptainly see they are Antichrist * 

to a word, as poverty in the miii>t nt riches, iaith- 
Wks^S in the midst of bttshless, humility in the midst of 
abstinence in the mUht of Imnquetn, chiiMity tn 

Biidst of pleaBtires, so, t^ - ' :<K>usness o( fatth it 
inpera in the midst of ceret *« Can a man (saya 

Soiooion) carry fire tn his bosom and his cU»tlies not tie 
kaiaed?" Prov- vi» And ' we must be in t! 'n 
tfridies, of bustnessy ot rs, oftmnqueti', i- 

amss, Ml must we be in the midst of ceremonies ; that iS| 
perik And ftirther, aj= it is ab ^ * I ncctlful that in- 
faatboys shoold be brought u|^ ilie aire, and in 

ie bosoms of young women, to pre^rve their lives; with 
i4idi young women, nevertbetes§» it wotdd be dangerous 
la their salvation for them to be familiar when arriTed 
^ die E^ of manhood ; even so, men of a heated and 
Mtpmenced ap" ~ ^ * trained and brnught into 

laljaLtiun by tht n iroti re>tnurits of cere- 

■ooies, lest their thr mind *ihonld rush headlong 

Vttiiices: atthoogh, tii trie same time, it wouM lie pcr- 
ttoD to them if they should always continue binder these 
rsraints, from an opinion of becoming us by 

Aem* For they are rather to \yp taught^ thai u»f y wei* 
aol tbns incarcerated, to the end that they might thereby 
become righteous or meritorious, but^ that they might 
be restrained from evil, and be the more easily trained 
an to the rigliteousness of faith ; which, l)eforL\ ilirough 
tne impetuosity of their age, and the need of its bring 
laitratned, they could not receive* 

ceremonies, in the Christian life, are to 


be considered in no other light, than those preparatory 
scaffoldings are by builders and artificers, which are 
erected to assist in the work and building ; which are 
not prepared as being of any value in themselves, or as 
designed to remain, but because the work and building 
cannot go on without them ; for when the building is 
finished, they are laid aside. Here, you see, the scaffold- 
ings themselves are not despised, nay, most carefully 
attended to ; but it is the false opinion of them that is 
despised, because no one imagines that they are the real 
and durable edifice. Thus, if any one should be so con- 
summately ignorant, as to, regard nothing more during 
the whole of his life, than the erecting of these prepara* 
tory scaffoldings in the most sumptuous, diligent, and 
persevering manner, and should never once think of the 
real edifice, but be pleased with, and boast of, his atten- 
tion to these mere temporary props and scaffoldings ; 
would not every one pity his madness, judging, that after 
such a wonderful expense, some mighty edifice would 
surely have appeared ! 

Therefore, we do not despise ceremonies or works, 
nay, we carefully attend to them ; but it is the false opi- 
nion of works that we contemn, that no one might ima- 
gine that it is righteousness : as the hypocrites do, who 
nx and spend their whole lives on these devoted services, 
and, after all, never attain unto that for which they are 
performed : or, as the apostle saith, ^^ Ever learning, 
and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, 
S Tim. ii. For they seem to have a desire to build, and 
prepare themselves to do it, but never build after all : 
and thus, they remain in a " form" of godliness, and 
never attain unto the " power" thereof. 

And yet, at the same time, they please themselves in 
these devoted services, yea, and judge all others, whom 
they do not see to glare in the same pompous show of 
works. Whereas, had they an unctuous experience of 
faith, they might, with these gifts of God thus squandered 
and abused, do something considerable to the salvation 
of themselves and others. But since human nature, or 


utnnl reascMi, (as it is called,) is naturally superstitious, 
and is ever proposing to itself certain laws and works, 
under the imagination of attaining unto righteousness 
tboeby ; and since, moreover, from the custom of all 
eardily legislators, it is inured to, and confirmed in, 
&is same propensity ; it is impossible that it should, by 
my power of its own, free itself from that working 
bondage, into the knowledge of the liberty of faith. 

Therefore, we have need of prayer, that the Lord 
wtmld draw us and make us teachable of God ; that is^ 
psssivdy receptive of God's teaching : and that he would, 
IS be has promised, write his laws in our hearts : for 
withoat this, we must perish. For unless he himself teach 
as inwardly this ''wisdom hidden in a mystery,*" nature 
ciDiiot but condemn it and judge it heretical, because 
'A is offisnded at it and accounts it foolishness. As we find 
it happened unto the prophets and apostles of old ; and 
the same treatment I, and all like me, meet with at this 
dty from blind and ungodly popes and their flatterers. On 
vfatHD, together with us, may God have mercy and lift 
op die light of his countenance upon them ; that we 
mi^t know his way upon the earth, his saving health 
amoi^ all nations, who is blessed f6r ever. Amen ! 

Anno 1520. 




'' Hkvc MRj apoB ne, O Locd.** 






lixFocNDED, in the la^t spring, the Second Psalm 
coDeeming Christ as King— 4us spiritual aod oele&tial 
UigdotEt ; how it is leceived by ihtB world, how ii i$ 
Aated and tora by kings and people^ aial yd^ jMft- 
lodieleie, conquers and triamphs. — Now, I purpoae 
m EipMition of the Psalm, ^* Uava ti^rcy upon nm^ 
OLnnl,^ which instructs iiSi ootK3eniing fe|)etilaiic0i 
kali however, that I consider myself able to ^?e u 
liporiticMi adeqtiate to the cooteols of IliJs rsakn; 
fcrloonfeK that I have not fuUv entered into ibe 
i|int which here spealts; bat I have undertaken it 
mkf^ that we might have an occasion and a subject 
Mtier Sm meiitalkn and inslmction, that I myself 
ItgSiMBr with «!■, am become a leamar, and mttf 
Apnl npoti the Spirit's leaehmg ; and whatever ha 
Ml be pieaaed to give, we will receive and ba 
ihmBUfertt. . ■ m 

The utiderstanding of this Psahn is, on imuiy 
iccoimts, both necessary and itseAil ; for it embraciss 
ihe d ottihies of the essential articles of our reiigion — 
of lepentance, of sini of grace, of justification ; and 
iisa, of that worship which we are to render unto 
God. These are divine and heavenly things, wUehf 
mfesa limy be taught by the great Spirit himssik 
cmaoi poraib^ enter into the heart of man. Hence 
n see, that, although this d^K^rine has been agitated 
W our adversttfies nith all their efforts, and in many 
lad immense volumes, yet there is no one out of theik 
li, who really knows inat repentance is what sin ts^ 
wwhat grace is : dmse are to tbem certata termt^ cm 


dreams only, some mere ideas of which have flashed ^ 

across their sight and understanding. And the cause ^ 

of all this darkness and ignorance is this : — the true 

knowledge of these things does not depend upon the 

understanding and wisdom of human reason, nor is it ^>^ 

(so to speak) bom at home ; that is, it does not grow ^ 

naturally in our hearts, but is revealed and given fW)m '^ 

heaven. For who among natural men could so speak ''^ 

of repentance, and the remission of sins, as the Holy "^ 

Spirit speaks in this Psalm ? -^ 

Hence, this Psalm is commonly entitled " The ** 

Psalm of Repentance," and is celebrated above all the ^* 

rest, as being used in the services and daily prayers of ':^ 

churches ; and he who first affixed to the Psaun this '^ 

title, doubtless knew something of its contents. But* 

as to the multitude in general, who sing and pray it'^Ii 

over in thdr performance of those work-services en- aifc 

joined rby bishops, they know nothing whatever aboatstt 

it. They apply this Psalm to the repentance of works, t) 

or to actud sin, which they define to be, 'a word, m 

an act, or a thought against the law. of God.' But^^i 

this definition is % far too contracted, to set forth iji 

before the eyes of men the magnitude and power of ^^ 

sin. Sin tmust be looked into much more deeply than a 

this ; sin or sinfulness must be set forth much more \^ 

clearly ; for it is not enough to confine it to the out- -^ 

ward act (as it is termed.) ;^ 

From this error — the not understanding what sin Jj 

is, has arisen, as is always the case, another' error — f^ 

the not understanding what grace is. It has happened, ^ 

therefore, that in raising up trembling consciences, ^ 

and in comforting them against the fears of death and ^, 

the judgment of <jrod, these men have been utterly w 

useless. For how can that man give consolation, who . 

does not know what grace is ? And therefore it was, . , 

dial they fell into those follies of recommending . 

to persons labouring under the burthens of their con- : 

sciences, hoods, rules, and other like absurdities, 

they beiiewed thai God would be inpiaBint 
ht these are proofe suflSdeDily manifest, WBl they 
w^j QodersiDod netther grace nor sio, aud that 
mj tan^t a meie natural theology, widiout the 
wmio( OoA, 

lo the ^ame way did they teach repentance alao 
Mlial meo should recount all their tranwreswMis of 
IJbe pa&t year, grieve lor them, and atone lor them hy 
alinictioa« Hut, I pray you, does Uie judge there* 
ioie not hang the thief because be hears him confeas 
la dieft, ana sees him grieve on account of it r And 
jet, these fellows imamoc, that satisfaction can be 
aade ttnlo Gcmj, by their feigning this gricf^ wearing 
ghs gumants, changing: their deportment, and al* 
law their food t- 

Ulierefore, r^ r-rMMuan oi this Psalm will be 
rly use 3 k ihejic points. We may from 

ikaro to understaiKt these essential articles of our 
and may be ei ' v ' ' Jfully and weightily 
) confute our adver^uit . impurely dispute 

is natier^ of so much importance* For I have learnt 
bf my own experience, in times when my consdeM^ 
las been in distre^ that all their protanc (lisimtat|oni 
give no relief whatever. I have therefore often 
■ the- ' ^i to die giving of thank5 for this 
ihe WVird and pure doctrine, and 
all such darkness is driven away by the clear 
of the V ' ' rig. 

To conit 

Psalm. — We have here deli- 

leted the doctrine concerning true repentance. There 

aie, in true repentance, two things ; — ^the knowtedy 

af sin, and the knowledge of grace* Or, to u<^e tema 

of more common acceptation, — the frnt of God* and 

hm I his mercy. These two parts of repentance 

^Mj I sets forth in this prayer of his, as though 

^■Kry were represented in a picture. In the beginning 

^6f the Psalm» we see him lalx>uring under the know- 

^ his sin, and the burthen of his coii$cien0D. 


In the end, lie comforts himiself from his trust in the ^' 
goodness of God, and promises that he will instmct ^' 
others also that they might be converted. Hence it '^ 
plainfy appbarsy that me prophet, in this Psalm, 
wished, for a particular end, to leave the true wisdom ii 
of th^ditiiie religion explained in sound words and in ii 
a sound isense ; that we might learn therefrom what n 
sin is, what grace is, and what true repentance is. • i 

But there are also other psalms of this kind, as t 
the ps^lm, ^' Blfessed is he whose iniquities are for- i 
gii^.*" And also that, ^' Out of the depths have I ; 
criedl** Fot David is partSculatly apt in this kind of i 
dbctrine : yet so, that he remains a learner with us in 
the experience of this doctrine : because all men, how 
much soever they may be gifted with the Holy Spirit, 
sthiWiainlearnei^ of the Word, still remain beneath 
ahd within the Word, tod still find, in their experi- 
ence, that they can scarcely imbibe one drop out of 
ike imittense ocean of the Spirit 

Havihg thus spoken, in a very few words, of the 
krgument and order of die Psalm, I will now speak 
iJso of its title. — The history of it is well known to be 
from 12 Sam. chap. xii. And I have no doubt, that 
this title gave occasion to the schoolmen to under- 
stand it as having reference to the person of David 
only, and to his actual sins; since David seems 
to s^eiltK alone in his own person, and concerning 
his own sins of adultery and murder. — It is a wonder 
that they did not teach also, that this Psalm is to be 
tiSed under this sin only. It is a wonder that they per- 
mitted it to be used in prayer, as an example^ under 
all sins. For it is thus that Fapl saith, the Lord Jesus 
has shewn forth in me an "example " unto all who shall 
l^dieye in him. Whereas, all who should believe in him 
might not be persecutors of the church. But Christ 
sh^it^ forth in Paul his long-suffering, his clemency, 
his infinSte mercy, that others might not despair under 
fiieir sins. In the -same manner also these men, have 


In the end, lie comforts hiiniself from his trust in the << 
goodness of God, and promises that he will instmct ^ 
others also that they might be converted. Hence it > 
plainly appiearSy that me prophet, in this Psalm, 
wished, for a particular end, to leave the true wisdom 1 
of th^diviiie religion explained in sound words and in i 
a sound sense ; that we might learn therefrom what : 
sin is, what grace is, and what true repentance is. 

But there are also other psalms of this kind, as 
the ps^lm, ** Blessed is he whose iniquities are for- : 
gii^.** And also that, ^' Out of the depths have I 
cried.^ Vot David is particulatly apt in this kind of 
doctrine : yet so, that he remains a learner with us in 
the experience of this doctrine : because all men, how 
much soever they may be gifted with the Holy Spirit, 
8tiuWiainleanie» of the Word, still remain beneath 
afad within, the Word, and still find, in their experi- 
ence, that they can scarcely imbibe one drop out of 
(he imm^se ocean of the Spirit 

Having thus spoken, in a very few words, of the 
argument and order of die Psalm, I will now speak 
also of its title. — The history of it is well known to be 
from 12 Sam. chap. xii. And I have no doubt, that 
this title gave occasion to the schoolmen to under- 
stand it as having reference to the person of David 
only, and to his actual sins; since David seems 
to s^eak alone in his own person, and concerning 
his own sins of adultery and murder. — It is a wonder 
that they did not teach also, that this Psalm is to be 
tised under this sin only. It is a wonder that they per- 
mitted it to be used in prayer, as an example^ under 
all sins. For it is thus that Fapl saith, the LordJesus 
has shewn forth in me an "example " unto all who shall 
believe in him. Whereas, all who should believe in him 
might not be persecutors of the church. But Christ 
shewed forth in Paul his long-suffering, his clemency, 
iiis infinSfte mercy, that others might not despair under 
fiieir sins. In the <0ame manner also these men, have 

this Psalm as an esatnple for prayer tinSSI 

sins, alUiough they understand it as referring onlyl 

the actual sin of David> who is mentioned In the{ 

of it. 

But we must go much farther than this : ive must ^ 
canfioe it to these external sins, but must consider \ 
fienetrating into the whole nature, tlie fountain- 
ig^ and the origin of sin. For the Psalmist isj 
of sin altogether; of the root of sin^ not ofl 
external act only ; for that is only, as it were, the 
it II hich proceeds from the tree and root of sin. 
when he exclaims that he *' was conceived in sin/*j 
certainly does not refer to adultery only, but| 
the whole nature as defiled by sin. And yet, it 
i not at all militate against this interpretation, that 
?id mentions his actual sin as an example : for in 
outward act, more sins are signified than his one 
with Bathsheba* He adds to his adultery, the sin 
lying dissimulation : for he pronounces the man 
took away the ewe lamb from his poor neigh- 
r, to be worthy of death, while he himself would 
ee his own sin in the murder of Uriah and the 
of his wife, but wished still to appear holy and 
ilaver of justice and equity. This was doubling his 
Moreover, he not only thus coloured over the 
il murder of Uriah, but occasioned the death 
^ other Israelites; and caused also the name of the 
to be blasphemed. And thus, having broken the 
and sixth commandment, he sinned against the 
the second, and the third also. Nor would he 
i^e left the fifth commandment, which respects duty 
I parents, unbroken, if he had resisted his adulterous 

With tlie sin of blasphemy, indeed, God most 

larly charges him : " Thou hast given occasion 

the children of Ammon to blaspheme*'* For at 

slaughter of David'^ people, the minds of those 

were elated against the people and the God 


9in as the Pope's teachers do, who define sin to be, ^ a 
word, or an act, or thought against the law of God/ 
Whereas, do you define it according to this Psalm, 
'that the whole of that which is bom of father and 
mother is sin^ even befcMrethe person can, by reason 
of age, doj say, or think any thing.' For, from this 
root, notliing can be bom that is good before God. 
And hence arises the division of sin. First, the whole 
nature is comipt by sin, and subjected to etemd 
death. And next,* the external appearadlce as it were 
of sin which a man, having the law, can perceive : as 
when thefts, adulteries, or murders ecte committed. 
But of this latter kind, even the civil laws speak, 
though not with sufficient accuracy. 

As to what the schoolmen say therefore, *.that 
things are sound by nature,' that is a great blasphemy; 
and the blasphemy is still greater, when it is consi- 
dered, that the same saying applies abo to devils.-*^ 
If things natural were sound, what need would there 
be of Christ ? Moreover, if man when bom, have thus 
a sound will and a sound understanding, to which 
(as they say,) the will can naturally conform itself, 
what is the meaninig of all this — that what was in 
paradise lost by sin, can be restored in no other way 
than by the Son of God alone? And yet many 
teachers of theology, as it appears, in our times, de- 
fend this opinion — * that natural things are sound ;* 
that is, that the will is good ; and if at any time, 
through depravity, it will or think that which is not 
right and good, they attribute that to the depravity of 
men, but not to the will simply, as considered in itself. 
Against these perilous sentiments, therefore, the mind 
must be fortified, lest the knowledge of grace be ob- 
scured ; for that cannot possibly remain sound and 
whole, while we think in this way of the nature 
of man. 

Nor is this doctrine of the schoolmen to be by 
any means borne with in the church^ — ' that man can 



cb the law OS to Urn substance of the actj but not as la 
intention of ike law-giver: seeing that, according 
the mteotion of the law -giver, not the work only is 
mquiredy but that disposition of the heart which is 
caUfid grace.' This is as if I should say — that he who 
i^ able in botti hands and feet can rightly perform liig 
^■■ty, but is hindered from so doing, because he is 
^Bflt at the same lime clad in a black or w hite gown. 
Hiksordtng to tliis tlierelbre tliey plainly say, that 
God requires something beyond die ten command- 
ants ; and is not contented with a man's fultillinH 
ten coromandmenti-, but requires moreover a 
sitifm of heart. But all these enormities have 
firom this— their not rightly knowing ^vhat sin 
: And I liave for this end mentioned these things, 
we may see how wide a diftference there is be* 
our sound doctrine and that enormous and 
; doctrine of the Pope. 

V^bal we say is — that things by nature are utterly 

ipt* For Adam, when he was created, had a 

It will and understanding. He heard rightly, he 

rightiy, and rightly managed all earthly things in 

and to the praise of God. But since the fall, the 

the understanding, and all the natural faculties 

cofTupt; so that, man is no longer upright, but 

ed by sin ; he has lost his right judgment in the 

of God^ and does every thing perversely and 

bodtrary to the will and law of God ; he no longer 

rs God and loves him, but flees from him and 

ids him, and saith in his heart that he is not God, 

[^ihalist mercafiil and good, but a judge and a tyrant 

Fiom this loss of the knowledge of God, arise 

sins in numbers infinite; for men in their 

[praeperitT sin with all security ; as do our adversaries, 

persecute the Word of God from a confidence in 

own power, and then imagine that God is of 

a oatuie, that they can, by their diligence and 

ij gain him over and reconcile him to them- 


for that is what the Hebrew word signifies. It does 
not signify, as the Pope teaches, ^ calling to your re- 
collection what you have done or what you have 
omitted/ but feeling the intolerable burthen of the 
wrath of God. The knowledge of sin, is the very 
feeling of sin ; and a sinner, is one who is distressed 
in his conscience, and stands anxiously alarmed, not 
knowing which way to turn himself. 

. We are not, therefore, here speaking of the philo- 
sophical knowledge of man, which defines man to be 
a rational animal, &c. These things are physical, not 
theological. It is in this way, that the lawyer speaks 
of man, as the possessor and lord of his property. It 
is in this way, that the physician speaks of man as 
sick and in health. But the theologian speaks of man 
as a sinner. This is the nature of man in theology, 
and the theologian treats of this nature as corrupted 
by sin, to the end that man might feel it And when 
that takes place, desperation follows, which throats 
the man down to hell. For what can that man do in 
the sight of a just God, who feels that his whole 
nature is overwhelmed with sin, and no power left 
him whereby he can make himself better, but is 
reduced to a state utterly destitute of all ri^te- 
ousness P 

When these things are thus truly felt-in tlie mind, 
then oug^t to follow that other part of knowledge^ 
which must also, not be speculative, but MioUy expe* 
rimental 9nd sensibly felt — the man must h^ and 
learn what ^sace is, what justification is, and what the 
will of God js concerning a man thus cast down to 
hell, — to raise him up and restore him through Jesus 
Christ. Here the mind that was cast down, is again 
raised up : for according to this doctrine of grace, he 
with joy concludes thus — ^if I be a sinner in myself I 
am not a sinner in Christ, who was made ri^teous-* 
ness for such as me ; but I am righteous, and justified 
by rij^teous and justifying Christ, who is therefore 


aM the ^ jastitiert** beorase be is so to mmet%^ and 
m ieol fur sinocn^. 

These are the two parts of ibeotogiciil knoitledm, of 
iipdi Dmrid treats in this Psalm* So that the Aubject- 
BHIer of the Psalm, h tlje theological knowledge of 
u, mud the theological knowleiige of Trod * tliat no tstm 
ngbttfatnk of Majesty ooly^ that is^ what GikI can do aod 
W powerful he is ; amd tW no one might ttiink o( man 
e ibe lord of his poiaes8ioiis» as the lawyer lioes ; nor 
Ql man nick or in health, as Uic phy<tic!ian does ; bat of 
«a us " :- icrr. l^r- ^* - roper subject of theiilogy, is 
aia ar _ OD ac« . ua ami lost, and GocTtfae 

JiRtter aod Savioar oi mao as a sincier* Whatever is 
n^ * — - -^ diiifnited on, beyond or out of tlji*» tubfcct- 
Hier i ^^^t i^ error and poison. For it is to ttiiis 

Alt the whole scripture temU — to cocamend the goodness 
tf Gfxi Cow anis us^ wlio wills by his Son, to restore natore 
Ueaimo bin und damnaitoa, to righteousness and life. 

Here, nothing is treated of coocemtng this corpoi^ 
iifet what fijod we are to use» what employment we are 
ttaadextake^ how oar fiynilieA are to be managed, how 
«r laad is to be tilled, &€. These things w ure all settled 
hefarcy when man was in paradise, and were given into 
the hands of men^ when God said» *' Kulc ve over the 
\ of the sea, and the fowls of the air/' fiut here the 
b oonceming a Itit •- ' ^ mal life, concerning 
Gttt die Jiistiiicr« tlie U Kcvtver^ and con* 

esaiiig nian^ fallen from righteousness aod life, into sin 
nd eternal death. He %t lio keeps this in view in read* 
kg the Holy Scriptures, h ill read ihcbc sacred things nith 

Hiis theological knowledge therefore, is necessary; 
ihta man mij^ know himself; that is, that he might 
faiow, feel, and eiperience, that he is Ruilty of sin uidt 
•tged to death. And then, that he might know also and 
OKperience the contrary, — that God is the Justiher and 
Redetsner of the man who thus knows himsdf. As to 
ill the rest of men who do not know tlieir sins, let us ] 
Ihem to lawyers, to phyf^icians, and to parents ; fort 



treat of man in a different way from a theolo^an. — I | 
now come to the Psalm. . 


Have mercy upon nic, O Godj according to thy great ' 
hving'kindnes^j according to the multitude of thy tender ' 
mercies, blot out my transgressions., » 

Here, first of all, an observation must be made upon , 
David's addressing God, and making no mention of ^ 
Christ ; iest you should imagine, that David addresses 
God as a Mahometan, or any other of the Gentiles^ 
would do. — David is here addressing the God of his 
fethers as a promising God. For the people of Israel did ' 
not view God as an absolute God, (so to speak,) in the 
same way as the ignorant herd of Monks ascend into '* 
heaven in their speculative imaginations, and view God ^ 
as absolute. From this absolute God all ought to '^ 
iee who would not perish; because, human nature, '^ 
and an absolute God, (I make use of this commonty *' 
used term for the sake of instruction,) are the moat ^ 
hostilely opposed to each other ; and it cannot be, bat *' 
that human infirmity must be overwhelmed with such ^ 
awful Majesty ; as the scripture continually teaches. ^ 

Wherefore, let no one here understand David as > 
addressing an absolute God. — He addressess God as ^* 
clothed and revealed in his Word and promises, that 
Christ might not be excluded from the name God, con- - 
ceming whom God made the promise unto Adam and <i 
the other patriarchs. It is this God, not as naked, but ^ 
as clothed and revealed in his Word, that we must ap-» t 
prdiend, or certain despair will fall upon us. 

And this distinction must ever be made between the 
prophets, and the Gendles, addressing God. TheGentiles ^ 
address God out of the Word and promises, according to \ 
the imaginaticHi of their own hearts. But the propbats i 
address Grod as clothed and revealed in his Word and .1 
promises. This God, under so merciful a form, and (so < 
to speak) wearing sd sweet a mask^ that is, hii pfai 1 


of Moses, there is nothing but nalced threatening^ agpuiist ] 
• the evil and disobedient. 

And the sensible impression upon the mind of aU ^ 

nature, accords with the law of Moses ; which impres- . 

sion, we cannot by any means shake off. For all meii ^ 
Judge thus — Thou art a sinner, and God is just; thera- | 

fore, he hates thee, therefore h« will punish thee, there- , 

fore he will not hear thee. — These conclusions it is im- ^ 

possible but that all nature must draw. Hence, nearly , 

•all the holy fathers who have written on tlie Psalms, *. 

have expounded a just God, as signifying, a God 10A9 ! 

justhf takes vengeance and punishes; and not as signify- "'^ 

ing, a God who justifies. Wherefore, it happened to me ,\' 

when I was young, fiiat I hated this appellation of God ; ^* 

and from this custom or habit, I even to this day shud- '' 

der, as it were, when I hear God called j//.v/. — So great *\ 

-is the force of false doctrine when minds imbibe it in J 

early years : and yet nearly all the old teachers so '^ 

expound it. 

But if God be Mi^ just, that he punishes justly, or ' 
according to desert, who can stand in the sight of a God ^ 
just in this sense ? For we are all sinners, and bring with ' 
us before God a just cause for inflicting punishments ' 
upon us ! Be such justice, therefore, and such a Just 
God, far removed from us, for, as a consuming fire^ ' 
he will devour us all. Because, since God has sent ^ 
Christ as a Saviour, his will is, most truly, not to be just * 
in punishing according to desert, but he wills to be, and ' 
to be call^, just, h,s justifying those who acknofmkdgt ' 
ihdr sinsj nnd to have mercy upon them. 

• David's saying, therefore, as a sinner, ^^ Have mercy 
upon me, O God," seems as if he spoke contrary to tlie . 
Ten Commandments, in which God commands moi j 
not to be sinners, and threatens those who are sinnns - 
^th punishment For what harmony can there be be- v 
tween a simier, and a God who is just, true, and an ^ 
enemy and foe to sinners, and who, from his natnve 
cannot bear with sin ? And yet David, who afterwaids ^ 
saith, ^' I acknowledge my transgressions;" and dims ^ 
f' My sin is ever before me;" this same David, I s«|r, ^^ 


treat of man in a different way from a theologian. — I 
now come to the Psalm. 


Have mercy upon me^ O God, according to thy great 
loving'kindnesgj accoi^ding to the, multitude of thy tender 
mercies J blot out my tra)isgressiotis.. 

Here, first of all, an observation must be made upon 
David's addressing God, and making no mention of 
Christ ; lest you should imagine, that David addresses 
God as a Mahometan, or any other of the Gentiles^ 
would do. — David is here addressing the God of his 
fathers as a promising God. For the people of Israel did 
not view God as an absolute God, (so to speak,) in liie 
same way as the ignorant herd of Monks ascend into 
heaven in their speculative imaginations, and view Grod 
as absolute. From this absolute God all ought to 
flee who would not perish ; because, human nature, 
and an absolute God, (I make use of diis commonly 
used term for the sake of instruction,) are the most 
hostilely opposed to each other; and it cannot be, but 
that human infirmity must be overwhelmed with such 
awful Majesty ; as the scripture continually teaches. 

Wherefore, let ho one here understand Davtd as 
addressing ah absolute God.— -He addressess God as 
clothed and revealed in his Word .and promises, that 
Christ might not be excluded from the name God, cour 
coming whom God made the promise unto Adam and 
the other patriarchs. It is this G^d, hot as naked, but 
as clothed and revealed in his Word, that we must ap-» 
prehend, or certain despair will fall upon us. 

And this distinction must ever be made between the 
prophets, and the Gentiles, addressing God. The Gentiles 
address God outpf the Word and promises, according to 
the imagination of their Own hearts. . But the prophets 
address Grod as clothed and revealed in his Word and 
promises. This God, under so merciful a form, and (so 
to speak) wearing so sweet a mask^ that is, his pro^ 


and invocations of saiDts, &c Such sin* 
Kfs^ who are sinners indeed, and yet do not feel that 
Aey^are sinners, but who rush forward with hardened 
twwm, justify themselves, and persecute the Word of 
God, &c ; such sinners, I say, are to be driven far away 
all mercy ; before such, the words of wrath are to 
It in array ; by which, God does not offer mercy, but 
eternal punishment ; according to this sentence 
the first commandment, " I am a jealous God, visit- 
;tfae iniquity of the fathers upon the third and fourth 

Moreover, the examples of wrath are to be set before 
; the destruction of Sodum^ the out-pouring of the 
upon all flesh, the carrying away captive of the 
people, and whatever other monuments of the Judg- 
and wradi of God are revealed in the scriptures; 
these insensible and impenitent sinners may be 
'it down to a knowledge of themselves, and may 
»" *>-.rnest to implore mercy. For these are they, 
cooc V liom it is said, ' God hateth sinners,* ** God 

heaieili uot sinners," &c. 

There are other sinners, who are sensible of their sins 

and of the ivrath of God, and are frightened away from 

the bee of God*^ These, on the contrary, take unto 

themselves all the tlireatenings which are denounced in 

ifae word of God, and are so cast down in their minds 

Aom rribie examples of the divine wrath, that they 

fair L,^ ..aie punishments themselves on account of 

Ibeir sins. Hut when, under these terrors, the mind is 

tbos mA it Here bruised with the hammer of the law and of 

jhe jiidgmentB of God, then is tlie season, then is the time 

jud the occasion tV>r laying hold of this divine wisdom ; 

dni the heart may lift itself up, and assure itself for a 

•oertBtiit}', that God, when he is wrath with sinners, is 

maoh with those only who are hardened and insensible ; 

but that it is said to those wlio feel the burthen of their 

«i3, ** The Loni taketh pleasure in them that fear him." 

For then the law has done enough, and those thunder- 

•i^gi of an angry God ought to cease, and those lights of 

neicy ought to shine wliich arc set forth in the \\ ord — 


'. of Mosesy there is nothing but naked threatening agaiiM 
-tile evil and disobedient. 

And the sensible impression upon the mind of all 
nature, accords with the law of Moses ; which impres- 
sion, we cannot by any means shake off. For all men 
judge thus — Thou art a sinner, and God is just; them- 
fore, he hates thee, therefore he will punish thee, there- 
fore he will not hear thee. — These conclusions it is im- 
.possible but that all nature must draw. Hence, nearly 
all the holy fathers who have written on the Psalms, 
have expounded a just God, as signifying, a God who 
justly takes vengeance and punishes; and not as signify- 
ing, a God who justifies. Wherefore, it happened to me 
when I was young, diat I hated this appellation of God ; 
and from this custom or habit, I 'even to this day shud- 
der, as it were, when I hear God called jW. — So great 
is itie force of false doctrine when minds imbibe it in 
early years: and yet- nearly all the old teachers so 
expound it. 

But if God be Mt^ just, that he punishes justly, or 
SEOCording to desert, who can stand in the sight of a God 
just in this sense ? For we are all sinners, and bring with 
us before God a just cause for inflicting punishments 
upon us ! Be such justice, therefore, and such a just 
God, far removed from us, for, as a consuming fire, 
he will devour us all. Because, since God has sent 
Christ as a Saviour, his will is, most truly, not to be just 
m punishing accordir^ to desert^ but he wills to be, and 
to be call^, just, bs justifying those who acknowledge 
their sins, nnd to have mercy upon them. 

< David's saying, therefore, as a smner, ^* Have mercy 
upon me, O God," seems as if he spoke contraiy to me 
Ten Commandments, in which God commands men 
not to be sinner^, and threatens those who are sinners 
iBnth punishment For what harmony can there be be- 
tween a sinner, and a God who is just, true, and an 
enemy and foe to sinners, and who, from his nature 
cannot bear with sin ? And yet David, who afterwards 
iaith, ^' I acknowledge my transgressions;" and also, 
IMdy sin. is ever before me;" this same David, I say, 

ob opoQ God and saith, '' Have mercy upon me, O 
Ccid.** — ^This is, in truth, (as tliey say,) to harmonize in- 
Odmpatible contradictions^ 

WTierefore, at the very beginning, David displays that 
skflAiliiess and wisdom, which is above the wisdom of the 
Ten Commandments, and is truly a heavenly wisdom, 
vhkh die law cannot teach, and of which, reason, with- 
out the Holy Spirit, can have neither knowledge nor 
ilea. For nature, universally, comes to this conclusion, 
mi says i*^thin herself — I dare not lift up my eyes to 
kiveii, but am frightened at the siglit of God : for 
I faiow both that I am a sinner, and that God hates sin :— 
fkaU I therefore pray ? And here begins a most difficult 
onflkt* For the mind, being distracted in itself from a 
CDQSdoiisness of sin, either resolves to put off prayer 
Otttil il shall find in itself some worthiness ; or else, it 
look$ after some natural inventions and consolations of 
Uoaii wisdom, which set it to thinking about tirst making 
ttlis&ction, in order that it might, with some' confidence 
m iti own worthiness, approach God and say, " Have 
macf QpOD me, O God/' This is the way in which our 
om nature always proceeds, but it is of all ways the 
Mit pcmi Because, our minds are thereby lifted 

Wf with a I nee in our own righteousness, and have 

1 peiHiasion that God can be appeased by our works, 
nil h » ' ^ mous presumption in our own merits, in 
QpfiOiii merits of Christ, Moreover, as we are 

im in sin, it follows, tliat if we never attempt to pray, 
c9 H^ feel that we are clean from all sin, we shall never 
pfiy at all ! 

Wherefore, this blasphemous way of thinking must 
facdlakeii off; and in the very midst of sin, or, to speak 
descriptively, in the very sea of sins, this means 
be u«ed which David here uses. Prayer must not 
off! For what meaning or purport has the word 
f, if tho!K; who pray are clean, and have no need of 
Bcrcy? But, as I said, this is the terrible conflict — so to 
our mind, when under the very sense of sin, 
'imablcd to cry unto God, *' Have mercy upon 
\r I who now teach these things, and give this in* 


stract^bn to others, have often Jeamt, by my own expe- 
rience^ tt^t of all works, to pray thus is the most diffi- 
cult. And therefore, I do not profess to be a proficient 
in this exercise. .This however I confess, that I have 
often, when in the greatest dangers, pronounced these 
^ords^ " Have mercy upon. me, O God,** very coldly; 
because, I was offended with my own unworthiness ; and 
yet, the Holy Spirit prevailed, who suggested to me — ^in 
what state soever thou art, thou must certainly pray. For 
Qod does not wish to be prayed to and to hear prayers, 
according to thy worthiness, but according to his own 

That these things, therefore, may be rightly under- 
stood—that Qojd hates sinners and loves the righteous, 
a distinction must be made between the man who is 
sensible of his sins and the man who is not sensible qf 
his sins. God does not wish to hear the prayer of the 
sinner who is not sensible of his sins, because such an 
one, does not understand what he is praying for, and does 
not wish to understand. Thus the Monk who lives in his 
superstition, repeatedly chants and mutters out " Have 
mercy upon me, O God ;'* but because he lives in a con- 
fidence in his own righteousness, and does not feel the 
uncleanness of his heart, he only utters syllables without 
understanding the reality of the matter, or wishing to un- 
derstand, it. Moreover, he adds to this a conduct the 
contrary of his prayers. He asks for pardon ; he asks 
for mercy ; whereas, he is all the while seeking, by this 
means and that, to make atonement and satisfaction for 
sin himself And is not this mocking God to his face? 
It is just as if any noisy beggar should cry witli urgent 
entreaties for alms, and when any one gave them, should 
immediately shew his own possessions ; that is, should 
boast of his lying imposture, and give a plain proof that 
he did not want alms. 

Thus the enemies of the Gospel repeat numberless 
words, and at the same time not only do not understand 
the reality of the matter, but act directly the contrary, 
while they assume various forms of worship, and while 
£tiejf seek the remission of sins by impious masses, by 


and invocations of laints, fltc. Such sin- 

who are sinners indeed, and yet do not feel that 

ane sinners, but who rush forward with hardened 

ws, justify themselves, and persecute the Word of 

&c, ; such sinners, I say, are to he driven far away 

all mercy ; before such, the words of wrath are to 

set in array ; by which, God does not offer mercy, hut 

eternal punishment; accordii^ir to this sentence 

the first commandment, '* I am a jealous Go<l, visit- 

the iniquit)' of the fathers upon the third and fourth 

Moreover, the examples of wrath are to be set before 
the destruction of Sodom, the out-pouring of the 
flood upon all flesh, the carrying away captive of the 
holy people, and whatever other monuments of the Judg- 
meai and mTath of God are revealed in the scriptures; 
ififti these insensible and impenitent sinners may be 
brought donTi to a knowledge of themselves, and may 
heg^i in earnest to implore mercy. For these are they, 
ooQCeming whom it is said, * God hateth sinners,' ** God 
hcBfetb not sinners/' &c. 

There are other sinners, who are sensible of their sins 
md of the wrath of (rod, and are frightened away from 
die fcice of God., These, on the contrary, take unto 
fr*''-^ waives all the threatenings which are denounced in 
• ird of God, and are so cast do\ra in their minds 
i horrible examples of the divine wrath> that they 

lui* ^^,^ same punishments themselves on account of 
tbeir sins. IJut when, under these terrors, the mind is 
thus a3 it were bruised with the hammer of the law and of 
the judgpients of God, then is the season, then is the time 
aod the occasion for laying hold of tliis divine wisdom; 
Ihat ihe heart may lift itself up, and assure itself for a 
certainty, that Gotl, when he is wrath with sinners, is 
mjBMh with those only who are hardened and insensible; 
but lliat it is said to those who feel the burthen of their 
iios, ** The Lonl taketli pleasure in them that fear him." 
for liien the law has done enoughj and those thunder- 
mgi of an angry God ought to cease, and those lights of 
mefcy ouglit to shine which arc set forth in the Word— 


that /^ Ood taketh pleasure in them that fear him ;'- that 
God despiseth not a broken and contrite heart; thaChi$ 
ears are open to, and his eyes fixed upon, the poor, to 
raise him from the dunghil ; and that he will fan into a 
flame the smoking flax, and mil bind up the bruised reed, 
&c. For these characters are that * poor tender worm' 
(as the translation of Jerom renders it, S Kings xxiii., 
thou^ it is not in the Hebrew) and that * most delicate 
flower,' which is shaken by, and made to ^mble at, the 
least breath of the Divine threatienings. Whereas the 
others, those insensible sinners, in the midst of the great- 
est storms, stand like mountains of iron, unmoved by all 
the. preaching of repentance. 

Wherefore, in these alarms of conscience, this one 
thing must be regarded — that minds thus terrified judge 
not according to their own natural feelings, for they will 
thus be hurried away into despair. But as there aire dif- 
ferent remedies, according to the different nature of dis- 
eases ; so, those who are thus terrified, are to be raised 
'up by the words of grace ; while those hardened ones 
are to be broken in pieces with a rod of iron. 

The Pope, with his teachers, can give no sound in- 
struction in such perils of conscience as these, as I have 
learnt by my own experience. For -they all judge ac- 
cording to nature. — I am a sinner, and God is just : 
therefore, the same punishment awaits me, which awaits 
other sinners. — Here nature rests, nor can it, under those 
dark clouds of Divine wrath, behold the rays of mercy. 

But here comes in our true theology ; and teaches,, 
that when minds are thus alarmed, then one part of 
theology is accomplished, which makes use of the law 
and threatenings, diat the sinner may begin to know him- 
self, and put off that security, in which, before this reve- 
lation of the Divine wrath, we all live naturally ; and 
that, he ought not to stop here, but to go on to know 
the other part of theology, wherein the whole knowledge 
of theology is completed — that God giveth grace to the 
humble ; mat those threatenings and terrible examples of 
wrath apply only to hardened and secure sinners ; that 
God is to them a "jealous God" and " a consuming 


It titttttno^ contrite and trembling ones are the 
peci{ite of grace, whose wounds it is the will of ** the good 
ikcpherd who layeth down his life for the sheep/' to 
fabd up and heal. Such, therefore, ought not to follow 
cogitations of their own hearts, which persuade 
thaty on account of their sins, they ought not to 
pmy and to hope for grace ; but let them, like David, 
oy out with a trusting heart, ** Have mercy upon me, 
God ;" because, in such as they are, God '* taketh 
Tliis part of the theology contained in this Psalm is 
sikoown to the schools of the Papists. For, behold 
Otvid breaking out into these words with a freely open 
Have mercy upon me, O God;'' and thus, 
things in their nature the most contrary to each 
'rod and a sinner, the unjust and the just. He 
above that niighty mountain of Divine wrath which 
lepftiates God and David, with a confident trust in 
BiercTT «^d unites himself to GoiL And this is the ex- 
perience which our theology teaches, in addition to that 
of the law. For, to call upon God and say, ** Have 
mcTty," is no great labour; but to add tlie particle me, 
this is that which is inculcated by the wliole preaching of 
die Gospel, and yet, we lind by our own experience, how 
' It it is to be performed by us* For this wortl me, 
I hsnderance to nearly all our prayers ; when it ought, 
the contrary, to be the great and only cause and rea- 
nrl should pray. 

\V.__i >re, we must, first of all, consider the exam- 
ple here given, that we may rightly comprehend the 
imiottn M£, and may be persuaded that it dignities the 
'I as David afterward clearly explains it^ when he 
I was conceived in sin ; " for he there confesses, 
It this ME signifies the greatest of sinners* Wherefore, 
as also learn this — that that multitude of thoughts 
wi^A would keep us back, should drive us to cry the 
more: as we read of the blind man in the (Jospel, who, 
the more he was rebuked, cried out so much the more. 
For we feel this multitude as it were of cogitations 
QS, to rebuke us. — Why dost thou think of pray- 


ing? Dost dum not Jcnowtwhat thaoait^ and what Ooii 
is ?-^This nmltitiide of thon^ts is veiy daipping to ^ 
spirit, and hindmi many; but it is to be despised; and 
we are, on that very account which seems to be a reason 
why we should not pray, to pray the more ; that wemay, 
tr^ a certain force, press through that multitude unto 
Christ and cry fdr mercy. 

Those who do this pray aright. But. truly .a gveat 
struggle of spirit is required. For I have foimd in 
my own experience, that prayer, under these, cogit^ 
tions, was often beaten away from me. Yet, by the 
grace of God, I came to this thought — ^not to yield to 
Satan thus attacking me, but, plucking up a force of 
spirit, to turn the weapons of my enemy against himsdf ; 
and say, Thou therefore frightenest me away from prayer^ 
because I am a sinner ; but I see, that for tiiis very rear 
son, because I am so great a sinner and have need of 
mercy, I must pray the more. 

The same course must be taken in the very heat of 
temptations, when minds are tempted with thoughts of 
lust and revenge. In this case, if any one exhort to 
prayer, the mind immediately objects its impurity : as 
though there were, under these filthy scenes of t^iought, 
no place for prayer. Here, on the contrary, urge, uiat 
no end of this temptation is to be waited for ; that is, 
until these thoughts of lust, or of any other sin, shall 
have left the mind ; but do thou at that very moment 
when thou feelest the temptation to be the strongest, and 
thou art the least prepared for prayer, go into a place by 
thyself and pray the Lord's Prayer, or utter whatever 
thou canst say against Satan and his temptation : thou 
wilt then find, that the temptation will abate and Satan 
will walk off. 

But if any one begin to think, that prayer should 
be put off until the mind become pure from unclean 
thoughts ; such an one does nothing but assist Satan with 
all his wisdom and strength, who is already more than a 
match for him. This is, indeed, the religion of the Gen- 
tiles and of sophists ; nay, it is the doctrine of Satan. 
Ag^nst which practice, the doctrine of this Psalm is to 

mil io ihoaghtfl 
junesy tlie aim of 
— ibo, ia tlie c 
iidritbaut tlie 

ttiPiinyafned; in which we §m ihat Davids tmder the 
WFf B^ oi all his im|iuritj, aod umler a partkuJar sin 
d die flesh, did not tl% Irfjoi Ciod and say,< as Pfter 
Idishly said io the sliip, '' Depart from me, lor I aoi a 
mM man, O Lor^ ;'* but, Hitb u rr!- • - in mcrcv, bus 
\mk3 oat into piayer ami my^, L4 i . itn a Muncr, 

aiad^ I am, liave niercy upon me. — ^l*or wc ou|;hl| 
when our hearts truly toel ski, Ki gti ibe mart* on that 
acomil tmtu CkkI id pmyer* We should liuvtr fled 
vmjf vc should have drctidetl (iud belbrct Hhcn ttiore 
lis a danger of tailing iriUi ^iu : but after a lall, wc 
iboold ha{je fur partlon and fi>k for il, and not s4aod 

and dread. Wba^ea», al tfaoaa 
.... • rvcrt tlm order of thipgl 
ns we should be secure 
icar ut Gud, and after they are OOM* 
■iued, retoain in dread without the hope of, or reliaftee 
Im mercy. 

But, as I saidf look at David wisaiy Aeeins cmto 
laercy md saynng, ** Have int;rcy u|Kjn me»0 God.*' As 
thoagh be had said, I know that 1 aju a batl man and a 
siisDer, and that thou art just, 'riierefure, my taking 
ooange and daring In t>^" -^I ^^miic in a rdtaiicc 

ii|Kiii thy Ward and | i^t; I know that 

ism art not the God of |)roud liy[xxTitei^, nor of those 
iAq boast in tlMrir ri^htcuir -^^ - ^ttsdom, and strengdi, 
kc; but the God of our : , who hast promised 

diat thou wilt redeem sinnen^ ; nut however mere sinners, 
bat sensible sinners, who know and feci that they are 
imien, and therefore it in that I dare to say *' llave 
Bier^ opon roe, O God :' for 1 am a sinner, tempted by 
die desh, by rourdert by anger, and by hatred : but my 
hope is in thy mercy and ){oudncss, which thou hast 
penalised ui r that tliirst alter ridbl0(fii8Des% &c. 

These tlMu^^.* tiowever, cannot be rally described as 
Jhcy really are, but mui>t be learnt by our own ex- 
perience: that will teach us, how great a coutUct it is to 
overcome this mountain as it were of our own unwor- 
thtnese and sin§, which stands between us and God* 
But aitbou^ the weakness of our faith is here so gi^eatly 


felt, yet, this consolation also should be held fa&i by ns 
— diat it is not we only who say, ** Have mercy upon 
me, O God/' but that the spirit says and prays the same 
in our hearts with '^ groanings that cannot be uttered.** 
And althou^ we can neither see these groans nor fully 
understand them, yet God, who also is a spirit, sees 
them most clearly and understands them most fully. 
Relying therefore on this Intercessor, we ought to resist 
Satan in the midst of our conflicts and temptations, and 
say, — If I am a sinner what then ! God is merciful ! If 
I am not a fit object for prayer on account of sin, it is 
well : I would not become more fit : for, to my grief, I 
am too fit an object for prayer already, because I am to 
great a sinner. 

This is the doctrine contained in this part — that 
sensible sinners (so to term them for the sake of in- 
struction) should take courage ; that, as a just God, and 
man the sinner, are to be reconciled, we should not so 
fear in the midst of sins as to be hindered from crying 
out '^ Have mercy upon me !" and that the pronoun me, 
or the name Lord, should not prevent us from putting 
in between them the word Merct, through whicl^ 
God, and man the sinner, are to be reconcicled. If 
this be not done, we shall never be able to sing this 
Psalm aright, nor even to pray the Lord's Prayer aright 
Because, it will never be in this life, that we shall be 
free at any time from all sins together. For although 
there may be no actual sins, (as they are termed,) which 
is very rarely the case, yet, there will always be original 
sin. And as we are always in sin, therefore, we ought 
always to be in prayer; thus, in truth, the hearts of 
Christians are in prayer every moment ; for they see every 
moment their unworthiness, and desire God to pardon 
it. These perpetual breathings of the Christian heart, 
are disturbed and hidden by various cogitations, and 
sometimes also, by business, so that we cannot always 
see them. And here, spiritual strength is, to overcome sin 
in this way by prayer, and when we feel our infirmity, 
to flee to. this cry, " Have mercy upon me, O God." 

And now we have shewn how a just God, and man 


Aiiiflaer, ore co be reecmciled, this instiuetiaii is also 
• begtveD — hoirwcaretD amdmlaml the words "have 
." For if une consider this carefully, wc must of 
condudc» that oar wbole life oonsists in, and is 
ffaeed in the bosom of, the mercy of God* For bImsb 
le are all mes, that ia, stnoers, it manilestly foUowSt w 
§moeamry cooaoqueoce, that whatever we are in our* 
afaei or in life is all nf mere grace* aod not becaase of 
Mf rigfifftOfi«i0^^ or merit of our awn. What ! thno wilt 
w. are not then the Ten Commandments to be kept ? 
iad if tbey be keptf is not diat ftiglhtaomtiesa ? I answer 
^we woakl have the Ten CommandiBCiililo be kept and 
ihainiid^ bat, it must beacconlitig to tlie enteiiiiva, diat 
% the evangelt<:al diaper ' - nr distinction* Becanaeip 
aebave received the '' fn ot the Spirit* only, and 

lb groans of the Spirit stili remain in our hearts* 
our fiesh, with its Ius^Ik and motions of con* 
that is, the whole tree together wiili its 
tes, still remains. On this account it is, that the law 

' be completely fulfilled. Were it othenvisc, and 
law cotiki be fuUlllcd, .what need would there 
la far that righleousness which David seeks by the 
Word ** Have merey ?'* that is, what need would there 
kttd impuiatian? But now, when even in the saints the 
w— wnK of sin still remain, ntit being yet \^ holly morti* 
ied, it is so, tliat we experince liotti tliese ihing?; : — we 
lodi lesist son and obey the law by the Holy Spirit 
ilveUins in os, and yet, when impelled into *iin by the 
* i and by Satan, we tiope for tlie remission of 91119. 
Hiss, the obedience under the law was sacrificing ; 
1 jet^ the prophet saith in the latter part of diis 
sacrifice and burnt-offering thou didst not 
For though the sacrirtces were tlius, yet mercy 
not left oat. In die same manner, we fultil the law 
hy the Holy Spirit; and yet, the word " Have merry" 
1^ remains ; that is, we still remam sinners, and need 
die free lemtssion of sins by the merits of Jesus Cluist 
Ih erefore , the whole of our life even unto death, is 
msscj ; and y^ Cfaristiafts yield an obedience to die 
law; kmt an imperfect one on account of sin dwelling to 


uSk Wharefore^ let us learn this also— that: we are to 
consider the word Mercy, as extending, not. to oar ac- 
tual sins. only, but to all the blessings of God; because, 
we are justified by the merits of another ; because, we 
have God for our Father ; because, God the Father iovas 
sensible sinners : in a word, becaiise, our whole life is 
mercy, for our whole life is sin, and yet is not exposed 
to the judgment or wrath of God. 

Hence, David does not only say, " Hai« mercy 
upon me, O God," but adds, " according to thy great 
loving-kindness ;'' and thus, says nothing whatever about 
meritj^ or righteousness of works. He does not say, like 
him in the Gospel, — I fast twice on a sabbath. He does 
iiot say. Have mercy upon me according to the merit of 
worthiness (meritum condigmim)^ or * the merit of con- 
gruity* (meritum cangruum)^ for what have these to do 
with mercy ? To boast of merit and such things, belongs 
to hypocrites, and not to David : as it is recorded con- 
cerning the brother of a certain king, who^ in the last 
moment of his life said unto God, ' Give me what thoa 
hast promised, ' as I have rendered unto thee what thoa 
hast commanded.' I would not have these to be my 
words in the article of death ! for the contrary must be 
said, ** Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O 
Lord," Psalm xliii. ! Again, " Bl(rf: out my iniquites," 
Psalm li. ! And what merit can we boast of, with m 
reliance upon this trifling advantage, as it were, — ^that 
God's eye is just? David says nothing at all about his 
own righteousness and merit, and wishes to act according 
to the ^^great loving^lcitidness" of God. In this way he 
keeps himself clear, not only from his own righteosnessi, 
but also from the wrath of God. He sets no other object 
beftyre bis eyes than a merciful, pleased, and smiling 
Gtxl. For he has it fixed in his own mind, that God is 
of great mercy; and that, therefore, he wills and thinks 
of nothing else but to pardon and to bless. 

This view of God as favouring and having meroy is a 
reviving view, under which the Psalmist covers the pro- 
noun MX BsA throws aside wrath into a comer, and says 
God favours tiie 1 This is not thetheplo^ of reason, 


• 79 

4kfa, under sio, advises despair: for David has a 

iiKag flense of ^in and the wrath of (roit anri yet says, 
^menercy u|K>n mr, (> (lod/* Thi-* do«:trinc readkm 
bowi Qot^ bat the 1 1 tplure^ revtsal it, ai yon Me 

a the fiist verse of this rj^aim : for each word iV placed 
dttfk nnd ptirely. But they ate the woid^ of the Spirit 
twai! ; and by which, tho^ who are »pirilual, 

Mniisa octwcen rinnet and nr nd hetwr ' ^ A 

Ml wnJ : and learn even to rrt if^tmiil I, 

vtDftntfry Ood« witli man a ^ii 

Bot thou "wUt say — The mii iv ^ t » 

C in reality /because I, he i tauijliti ils, 

to think tlius i» my mind* — Nay, it h certain, that 
allKMi be* ^ ' ' " hedonetinto thee. For this 

Mills not rie own thfnkin::, hfit clmtrn 

haitfieWordotCfod. i I, 

wdht persuiided for certain f»t \iu^^ uicU \ hhi uiKcth 
ihiMtre in them that foar himf then so will it in re- 
Ay be onto thee : if thoa ciin**t not apprehend it, ihcn 
Aoa art r ^ — »-^ .i- - « - /* l»ut under wrath; 
tesordtn^ *' As thou bf^lievest 

«o he it done ante thee. ' Hut the thoughts conceraing 
Ae wrath of God are in theinsdveii (nhi:, because God 
pamifleth mercy : and yct^ thorn Cube thoughts become 
tRtt, becaiiae tbou persuadest thyself that they are true* 
Oa ihe contrary, those other thoag^^^ *' * ( Jod favoum 
wnneia who feel their sin**, are in re.*. , and remain 

tiae* Thercfcire, it is not so, liecaufve thou thinkefit it $o; 
mt will it therefore come to paaa, becau^^ thou lielievcst 
it will M) come to pass. Bat anderstand it thus — that, 
what is certain and true in itself, becomes more certain 
aad troe to Ihee, * ** thus believing it to lie m. Thus, 
il ibott believe t; 4 is wrath with thee, Uiou wilt 

nreiy find him wrath with thee, and an enemy : bat this 
ii by a devi';^ '^r^latrous, and perverted perstiasion : 
httaoK, Go* ^ed, if thou fear him and apprehend 

Christ tfie object ai mercy. 

Thia is the true theology concerning tlie true God, 
VmI ibe true worship of God. It i» a fahe theolog)*, that 
God is wrath with tho^e who acknowledge their sins. 


Such a God is neither in heaven nor anywhere else» but 
is an idol jof a perverted heart; because the true God 
saith, ^' I desire not the death of a sinner, but rather 
that he should be converted and live ; " and this is exem- 
plified in the present example and prayer of David. And 
we observed at the beginning, that it is only the example 
of David that is to be here considered ; but that the 
Psalm is to be used as a general doctrine applying unto 
all men, without exception. In the same way as the 
Epistle of Paul to the Romans delivers this as a general 
^ntiment, '^ All men are liars," Rom. iii. : and again, 
*^ God hath concluded all under sin that he might have 
mercy upon all," Rom. xi. In the same manner we have 
observed concerning David, that he does not speak of 
his own sin only, but of the death and life of the whole 
human race. Therefore God is the same toward all men 
as he was toward David ; that is, pardoning sins, and 
having mercy upon all who beg for mercy and acknow- 
ledge their sin. 

Hence it is, that he wishes to use this repetition, or 
amplification rather, and adds, '^ according to the mul- 
titude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions/* 
He before begged, that God would turn away his eyes 
from his sins: and now, he does the same, but with 
greater fervency of spirit ; for he apprehends God as 
promising, and with all his heart looks and turns towards 
his mercy, which he could not do without being helped 
by the Holy Spirit : without this, he could not appre- 
hend God as promising, and know that there was with 
God the hope of the remission of sins for sinners. So he 
saith also in another Psalm, ^^ There is mercy with thee 
that thou mayest be feared." He does not seek after 
making satisfaction, he seeks no secluded comer where 
he may prepare himself unto grace, but goes straight 
into the sight of God, and to his mercy ; which is known 
to him, not from his own heart, nor from the dictation of 
reason, (for reason under sin flees from God, because it 
cannot bear the convictions of conscience in that light, 
so as to believe, that there is mercy, grace, and favour 
with God for sinners,) but this mercy is known to him 

6bbi tlic promise??, which he beholds ^attereO every 
ereji throughout the law and decalogue : for al- 
God there tlireatens sinners, yet he retains the 
of the merciful CJod : the same is testified in the 
prf»j9e9 to Adam, Abrahani, kc* 

This same way must we also take in all our tempta- 
Wasi that as often as we are bidden and troubled in our 
cmiideoces on account of sin, we might turn away our 
dioiU!llt5 from sin and roll ourselves into the bosom of 
God, which is called grace and mercy ; noUiing doubting, 
lal that his good- will is to display that grace and mercy 
lllii3Lrd?< a^icted and miserable sinners, even as his will 
htoilisplay wrath and judgment against hardened sinners. 
^ true theolog}^ ; which this verse of the Psalm ma- 
sets fortii when it says, " according to the multi- 
Ude cSr thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions/' 
The term raf is used when a great number or 
entity of distinct things is signified ; as we say also in 
Gcrmati^ gros celt, a great sum of counted money. 
Aui then, the term hesed is well known. Paul often 
jmAcTb it " benefit ;'' as in 1 Tim. vi,, where, speaking 
rf lerrants, he saith, that they ou^ht to honour their 
Dialers ; and he adds this as the reason, because they 
He " piirlakers of the benefit' of the Gospel. Some- 
timei ali^o he renders it *' love/' The Greek interpreter 
fBidcrs it *' mercy ; * as in that passa<^e of Hosea, ** I 
•il hare mercy and not sacrifice ; '* that is, that ye love 
nue another, and do good one to another. So also lie 
fCDcier^ it in this passage, " have mercy upon me, O 
God^ according to thy great loving-kindness." 

The other term rahem, signifies, to put on a dispo- 
sition of riemency; to desire not to regard the sin of' 
aBDCber^ but to pardon it, to pass it by^ &c* ; as in this 
't "I ^i" have mercy on whom I will have, 
; '' that is, I will pardon, I w ill forgive sin. And 
_ ibllows the term rahemim, which our interpreter 
mdeni ** tender mercies/' — This is the signification of 
ifae Hebrew text, which I have explained tbr the sake 
of tfacHie who are unacquainted with the language. 
And now, observe how excellently David unites these 



two.— First, that God would have mercy ; that is, that 
he would freely do good to us who are utterly unworthy. 
And then, that he would grant unto us the remission of 
sins; which we receive by faith in the promises, under 
the Holy Spirit. For, if GocL pardon not freely, there 
is no satisfaction, no remedy for us beside. There is no 
salvation by fastings, none by any other works, none by 
anjsels, nor by any other creature ; tlie only salvation is 
a neeing to the mercy of God, seeking from God good- 
will anp pardon, begging of him not to regard our sins 
and transgressions, but to pass them by, and to deal 
with us according to his '' loving-kindness " and his 
" tender mercies. And if God do not this, we are not 
■ of ourselves worthy that he should grant us one hour of 
our life, or give unto us one mouthful of bread. 

But here again we find by experience, that it is a 
work of great skilfulness, and of the greatest difficulty, 
so to join these two things, and to fix the eyes only on 
the " loving-kindness" and " tender mercies " of God. 
For these words do not grow by nature in our own hearts, 
but are brought down to us from heaven by the Holy 
Spirit. On the contrary, these thorns are the things that 
naturally grow in our hearts — I am a sinner, God is 
just, and angry with me as a sinner. These thorns the 
conscience cannot pluck out ; it cannot bring a sinner 
into the presence of God as a favouring and pardoning 
God J this is the gift of the Holy Spirit; not of our own 
will, nor in our own power, ("or when the conscience 
is without the Holy Spirit, our hearts either become har^ 
dened in sin, or sink into despair : and each of these is : 
contrary to the will of God. 

David, therefore, under the Spirit, sail3 in the 
middle between this satanic Scylla and Charibdis, and 
throws himself in safety on that boundless and infinite 
mercy of God, and saith — * Thy tender mercies, O Lord, 
are many and great, but I am a sinner who have lived 
badly, who now live badly, and ever shall live badly as ' 
long as I live. If, therefore, I would come into thy pre- 
sence, I must of necessity bring with me other thoughts 
than those which my heart suggests to me. I con^ss. 


riMdoce, my sin before thee, tor it is great: (a& he satth 
aim Pf^aJni xxv.) But I so confess my sin, as to cmifcss 
il the same time, that thy ** loving-kindness'' ami thy 
•• trader mercies '' are far greater than my sin ; and that 
^ ris;hleausness, by which thou justitiest sinners is, to 
inlinite degree, too great to allow mc to despair:' 
—Mjmi Uierefore he saith, ** according to the multitude 
of Cfay tender mercies/' And since he saith, that them 
ut agreat multitude of tender mercies, he plainly denies, 

wiii not know any hoUness, either in himself or 

For what suitable meeting could there be be^ 

a multitude of tender mercies, and human holi- 

IC tlierefore, mercy be so great, tfiere is no such 

as holiness in us : and it is a mere fabricated 

to call a man a Saint, even as it would be a fabri-' 
calcd term to say, that God is fallen into sin : tor this 
b DO where in the nature of things. 

These deeply-rootetl and inveterate errors and false 
Q^ioos, therefore, are to be rejected : such as sayings 
if-- ~^ manner of the monks, Saint Jerome, SaintJ' 
K lint Paul, Sec, I for they are all in themselves' 

mumn^ and God only is holy ; as the Church sings. 
And those whom we call saints, are sanctified only by 
the holitiess of another, even of Christ ; which is a holi^^ 
mm granted of free- mercy. By this holiness, the whole 
Gliaidi of the faithful are saints alike, and there is no 
dMbeuce* And thus, 1 am a saint as well as Peter, and 
the thief at the right hand of Christ as well as me. Nor 
does il make any ditierence, that Peter and Paul diet' 
^ealer things than you or I, for we are all alike sinnerar' 
in otuiielvexs, and have need of " loving-kindness '* and 
•* lender merxries." And although the apostles had less 
of cxleroai sins, jet they often felt in their hearts pre- 
MOupcioOt often pride, often thoughts of desperation^l 
nfttw denials of God, and the like defects of human inltr- 
ail^ : and therefore, there is in man nothing holy, nothings 
flood to be found; as saith the Psaim, '' God looked 
Qomn froTi ' ^ upon the children of men — and there 
is none lij fh good, no not one:' and if there ba 

o 2 ^ 


none good among the children of men, where can they 
be dse ! 

Therefore, let us talk no more about holiness and 
saints : for we know that those are saints, who, from 
being insensible, are made sensible sinners : who do not 
presume upon their own righteousness, (which has no 
existence), but begin to have an enlightened heart to 
know themselves and God — that whatever is of our- 
selves is evil before God, and is pardoned by the for- 
giveness of ^^ tender mercies." Into this bosom we, and 
all saints, must betake ourselves, or, we must of neces- 
sity be damned. — And it was for this purpose that God 
sent his Son, that he might reveal these '^ tender mer- 
cies *' to the world, and make known that doctrine which 
the human heart and reason know not. And David here 
sets this doctrine before us while he confesses his sins, 
and yet confesses, that the mercy of God is greater. 

Wherefore, let all men sing this verse with David, 
and acknowledge that they are sinners, but that God is 
just ; that is, merciful. This confession is the sacrifice 
that is acceptable and well-pleasing unto God, and to 
which David invites us. For he would tnat this were 
the doctrine of the whole world ; — that, when the devil 
or conscience should accuse us on account of sins, we 
should freely confess, that we are in many and great 
sins, and yet not despair ; because, although our sins 
should be great and many, yet we are here taught, that 
the mercy of God is wide and great also. It ^i^as in this 
way that all the saints defended themselves against 
Satan ; so that, although they were sinners, yet by this 
knowledge they were justified ; according to Isaiah liii., 
* Tlie knowledge of Christ shall justify many.' 

When we have once heard these things, we think 
tiiey are easy, and may be learnt immediately. But here 
is tne labour, here is the conflict — to hold these things. 
iiEist in the time of temptation. For the conflict is not 
about a thing of nought; eternal death is in the matter, 
and we fight for the salvation of our souls. Moreover, 
we find in our experience, not only conscience prying 


Oftt against na, bat also Satan breathii^ into as thoughts 
of de^ €m accoant of those sins of which we are our* 
sdres conscious. Theiefore, for a man to say that he is 
a sinner, and yet not to despair, is altogether of Divine 
fxywer. And to this power we attain, not by extenuating 
oar sins as oar adversaries do, but thus-^-by believing, 
that,asoar sin», in its nature, very great and very griev- 
ous, so also grace, or mercy, is immense and inexhaustible : 
IS David here dories and cries, *^ according to the multi- 
tude of diy tencUr mercies, blot out my transgressions/* 

And to this also agrees the very term " blot out," 
vbich the prophet here uses ; as does Paul also, Col. ii., 
"" Blotting out the hand-writing which was against us ; ** 
tod also Peter, Acts iii,, " Repent and be converted, 
tint your sins may be blotted out.** For the term *' blot 
OQt," denotes, that our sins are written upon our con- 
science by the pen of the law. And the prophet desires, 
that as writing is blotted out on any paper, so the me- 
mory of his sins might be blotted out from his own heart 
and from the sight of God. And in this way, neither 
girace nor gratitude will be made void ; for our sin is 
thus pardoned that we may never forget grace. For as 
Peter saith of those who forget the forgiveness of their 
tonner sins, that they heap up new sins by unbelief and 
ingFititude ; so we see, in this day, the world to be fiiH 
of the contempt of the (jospel and of all kinds of licen- 
tioosness. In such, sin is not blotted out, but more 
de^ly inscribed. 

David, therefore, in his desire embraces both : — that 
his sin may be blotted out, and that the Holy Spirit may 
be given him by which he may resist sin. And since he 
seeks nothing but the blotting out of sin, it is quite ma- 
nifest, in which way we become righteous ; — only by the 
imputation of righteousness : seeing that, our sins are 
bkkted out by grace, and we are received into favour 
for Christ's sake. — But compare with this the dreams 
of the sophists and of the school-men, and you will then 
M, how absurdly th^ taught concerning righteousness 
»ad the remission of sms. . 


V£11S£ 3. 

Wash me ihoroughly from mine mquitjf, and change 
fne from my sin. 

Hitherto, be:has bagged /or grace and tke remission 
.pf sins, ^r for iclenienGy :-^tbat God wouM favour «hiin 
4md us ally and ,would pardon and blot out sin according 
to l^s mercy. For this is the first pert, or the first step, 
after the knowledge of sin :- — to receive graoe, to have 
Opd favourable, said ready to do us good : so that we 
may be iq the bosom of the mercy of God, and may 
' have a trust in those firm promises which are made to 
us concerning the grace of God. And as we have these 
promise in baptism, so they had them in Christ pro- 
. mised. — In this verse, however, where he l>egs that he 
may be cleansed from his sin, he sets before us another 
vi^w of sin, distinct from that which he had taken be- 
fore. For above, we have divided sin into felt sin (so 
rto speak) and unfelt sin ; as we have made also two 
jkindjs of sinners, sensible and insensible sinners ; or true 
.sinners, aod false saints or hypocrites, \vho, being har- 
dened and secure, do not feel their sin. Here David 
shews, that sensible sin is also twofold, or may be con- 
sidered in a twofold point of view. It is sin pardoned 
by grace, and sin remaining in the flesh. Sin pardoned 
W S^^^ is — that God, for Christ's sake, wills not to 
leave us, how great sinners soever we may be, but wills 
«p pardon us in mercy, though we be thus lost and 
corrupted by sin. 

But it IS npt enough that this sin is pardoned by 
fface, for through infirmity we fall into sin again. We 
ar^ to desire, therefore, that sin be not only pardoned, 
but abolished entirely. * For sin, (as Augustine says,) re- 
mains in reality, though the guilt be gone.' That is, that 
whi(^ is sin itself in r^ity, and which is pardoned, and 
[^ pasipjed by of God, that still remains in the flesh, and 
is iK)it as yet quite dead : except that, as it is said, Gen.'iii., 
The head of the serpent is bruised by Christ, though the 


iQDgae still shews itself, and the tail still threatens to 
strike. For sin, because the grace and mer^ of God 
1^ over us, cannot damn us, cannot make God wrath 
vidi us. And yet the remnants of sin still remain in 
those who are justified ; such as, concupiscence, and 
olber evils, which the prophet beholds in himself as 
certain remaining dr^, or seed-beds. And therefore, as 
befofe, he had begged for an universal remission ; so 
here, he prays for the expurgation or extirpation of 
uiese remnants. 

This, therefore, is the second part of his petition, 
which, as I said, sets before us the other view of sin : — 
that God wills to blot out sins, as to the remission of 
gmli and the power of sin, but not as to sin itself, or the 
nature of sin. For the power of sin is, to accuse, to con- 
demn, to bite, to grieve, to leave no peace to the heart, 
and to present an angry (Jod, hell, &c. This power of 
sin is taken away by free mercy, and yet, the real rem- 
nants of this sin still remain. Tlierefore, both these obser- 
Tations are true, that no Christian has sin, and that every 
Christian has sin. Hence arit^es this different view, that 
in Christians, sin is twofold: — sin pardoned, and sin 
TCmainin<; which is to be extirpated and abolished. Sin 
pirdoned, is that which is bruised from a believing re- 
liance on mercy, which cannot condemn or accuse, but 
which, by reason of this flesh, still breaks forth and wars 
in oar flesh, so as to produce the same fruit as aforetime, 
in order to make us secure, ungrateful, and ignorant oif 
God as we were before. These are the strivings of the 
remnants of sin in us, which even the saints teel ; but 
which, through the Holy Spirit, they do not indulge. 

The Christian, therefore, after he is justified by faith, 
or has received the remission of sins, must not remain 
secure, as though he were rendered wholly pure from 
all sins, but there is still to be in him this perpetual 
struc^ling against the remnants of sin, from which the 
pro^iet here desires to be washed : though he is, indeed, 
already righteous and sanctified by another's, or by an 
external sanctifieation, (to to call it for the sake cf m- 


structioi^) ; that is, he is righteous by the mercy and 
grace of God. 

This mercy and grace is not any thing human, it id 
not any . disposition or quality in the heart, but is a di- 
vine benefit which is freely bestowed upon us by that 
right knowledge of the Gospel — ^the knowing, or bdiev- 
ing, that our sin is forgiven us through the grace and 
merit of Christ, and hoping in the ioving-kindness and 
many and great tender mercies of God for Christ's 
sake ; as the prophet here saith. And is not diis righte- 
ousness a righteousness not our own ? seeing that, it 
stands in the clemency and mere gift of God shewing 
mercy and favouring for Christ's sake ? 

This is made clear by a similitude. — If any one should 
stand in the judgment-hall of a certain prince, meriting 
capital punishment, and if the prince should acquit this 
man by a free grant, Would you not say that his crime 
was pardoned, not by his own merit, but by the gratui- 
tous favour of the merciful prince ? For, as to merit, he 
deserved nothing but the punishment of death. And yet, 
it is not enough for such an one that his crimes are par- 
doned, his chains must be loosed, garments must be given 
him, something must be put into his hands which he 
may use. — So it is with us in the matter of justification. 
When we jMPe set free from guilt by mercy, we have need 
moreover of the gift of the Holy Spirit to purge from us 
the remnants of sin, or at least, so to help us, that we 
yield not to sin and the desires of the flesh ; as Paul 
saith, * Mortifying by the Spirit the deeds of the body/ 
— Whereas now, the case with us is, that most of us 
live in that security, as though we were all spirit, and 
there were nothing at all of the flesh remaining. Where- 
fore, we are to learp that the flesh still remains, and that 
the office of the Spirit is to war against the flesh, that it 
accomplish not that which it desireth. 

The Christian, therefore, is not righteous /ormaily, 
not righteous according to substance or quality^ (I use 
these terms for the sake of teaching,) but righteous ac- 
cording to a relation to something ; that is, with refe- 


iCBce to the Divine grace and free refnission of sins . 
fiuch belong to them who acknowledge their sin, and 
Uieve that God f&yoars and pardons mem for Christ's 
ake, who was ddivered for oar sins, and on whom we 
bdieve. After we have attained unto this righteousness 
bf fiuth, then we have still need of this fountain, or 
nshiK, coDceming which the Psalm here speaks. For 
litfaoa^ sin does not indeed any more condemn, yet 
it remains, vexes, and grievingly hinders us from so ter- 
wady loving God, and from believing \iith so full a 
coafidence of heart, as we in spirit wish, and as (iod 
Rqoiies; it hinders us from being chaste, meek, kind, 
&c; and causes all our members, as it Mere, \iith their 
conupt affections, to strive against the law of (iod. 
Hoe, unless we oppose and fight with all our efforu^, 
tbeie will be a danger lest these corrupt affections should 
pin strength and draw us away into our old ivays of 
so, as many examples of the men of our day abundantly 
pro\'e; who now, after having heard the (iospel, are 
ir worse than ever they were before. And ns many ex- 
mples of sects testify also, for they are in that i^tute of 
security, as if their reason could not deceive them, and 
as if they were without tiesh. Meanwhile, those dial>o- 
lical cogitations which they tack on to the word of (iod, 
they approve w ith wonder, and spread abroad as ora- 
cles. — When this is the case, there is no place left for 

As an antidote to this security, we should do well 
to consider the prayer of David ; in which, after he had 
begged for the remission of sins, as to the guilt of them, 
and had been glad in the mercy of (iod, he prayed 
moreover for that which remained : — that he might he 
vashed fit>m his iniquities, that the Holy Spirit mi^ht 
be given unto him, and that gift and power which might 
dwell inwardly in the heart and purge away the re- 
mainder of sin, which began to be buried in baptism 
bttt was not yet fully buried. And this is the Christian 
fife, as is beautifully described. Col. iii. : — that we should 
seek those things which are above, as those who are dead 
U>the world, and whose life is hid in Christ: and also, 


S Cor. vii., that we should cleanse ourselves from all 
filthiness of the flesh and spirit. The apostle here signi- 
fies, that there remained in him, and in all ChiistiBatt, 
the same kind of filthiness of ^^ the spirit," that is, evil 
imaginations concerning God ; and of ^^ the flesh," that 
is, corrupt afiections. These, therefore, it ought to be 
our desire and our labour to purge firom us, under the 
assistance of the Spirit. Whereas, those who seem to 
themselves to be wholly saints and without sins, are dfe- 
filed in spirit; they lose fiedth, and form to themsehea 
imaginations, very much like ikith indeed, but which aie 
put into their minds by the devil ; by which, beoominff 
secure, they are gradually drawn away firom the Wcwrd 
into the ways of sin. 

Therefore, you may soon say, * I believe in Christ,* 
but it is a matter of the greatest labour for this fiiith to 
be surely and firmly fixed in the heart, and to i^main 
so; because, the defilement of the spirit is ever present; 
neither does our own reason or Satan ever cease, who, 
with their united powers, are ever aiming at this ; — to 
make us set aside the word, and govern ourselves "by 
our own imaginations. Hence arise sects and heresies^ 
who hate as with the most bitter hatred, and yet do not 
think that this their hatred is sin, but call it zeal. Ther^ 
fore, they do not purge away, they do not wash off^ this 
sin, but increase it daily. Let us, however, be careful to 
be washed every day, that we may daily become more 
and more pure, and that the new man may come forth 
and the old man be destroyed, not only unto death, bat 
even unta sanctification. 

And this conflict-stage, as it were, of Christians, is in 
no small degree formed by God's permitting the Chttrdi 
to be oppressed with various corporal calamities, and by 
his suffering heresies and sects to be raised, that it might 
be exercised in holding fast the Word and faith, and 
in purging out those remnants of sin. For the Holy 
Spirit is Aerefore given to those who believe, that he 
might war against those imaginary visions of our own 
wisdom which arise in our own hearts, and which lift 
themselves up against the righteousness of God; tod 


aonower, that he night prompt us to prayer, to per- 
htm offiees of hmnani^ to all, and more especially, to 
ihe lir et h r eu ; and that thus, the miod and the body might 
te'Cacffcwed, and that we may day by day become more 
aalaiore sanctified. 

Hie trath €if this Goofefwion, therefore, is manifest, — 
iat we are all sinnen. For where washing is reqntred, 
tat defilement and filth are implied. But our sophist^, 
vho understand nothing hut |>hilosophicnl righteousness, 
waqoality in the mind, cannot reconcile thin contra- 
lie^. They place a righteousness or quality in the heart, 
ad where that is, they consider that the whr>le mnn is 
mctified both in spirit and in fiesh. Wli€*n, tiierefore, 
ihcy hear that Paul was one of the elect, anci yet, that 
ke was a sinner by reason of the remnants ot' sin which 
stiU remained in his nature, they think they hear of some 
ttled wonder that never had existence in nil nature. 
And they consequently condemn u< as heretics, and 
thieaten us with fiery destruction. 

But let them give us an answer to this eminent 
Palm which is so well known : — what the reason is, 
Ait David, after ** loving-kindness' and ** tender mcr- 
des," that is, after justification, prays also to he cleansed ? 
For David, having the remission of sins, and standing 
ia gn»e, being in a state in which no sin could accuse 
Ub or condemn him, is still unclean, and has yet unclean 
an; whi<^ is sin indeed and in reality ; excepting that, 
it cannot condemn him. — Therefore, David l)eing righ* 
iBoas and justified, has still sin, and is yet in part un- 
li^bteoas : and, in conseciuence, prays for that greatest 
of ^fts, the Holy Spirit, which might purge out those 
remaining dregs of filth. And that gift sufficiently 
proves, that this washing away of sin, is no more jest 
or idle game. Indeed, this is especially to he guarded 
against, that we extenuate not these remaining dregs of 
rin ; for if you extenuate them, you thereby also set at 
noi^t the purifier, and the gift for purification ; that is, 
the Holy Spirit. 

The prophet very descriptively calls these remnant 
ingi *' sin,"" and *^ iniquity ; *' although it is not that 


sin which it waa beforei because its head is braised by 
the remission of sins. Tlierefore, the prophet does not , 
only say " wash me," but " wash me more," or, " wash 
me thoroughly," that is, to-day, to-morrowy and hence- 
forth throughout my whole life, from all the defilements 
of body and spirit; that I may become day by day 
more strengthened and established against the terrors ot 
the law, until I become lord over the law and sm 
through the fulness of thy mercy, &c. — ^This is the 
doctrine of this Psalm, andi it is our continual school, 
from which neither we, nor the apostles, nor the pro- 
phets, shall ever come forth as complete masters: for we 
all remain here as scholars, and all beg, as long as we 
live, to be washed more and more. 

These are the two parts of justification. The former 
— the grace revealed in Christ ; that, through Christ, we 
have a reconciled God, so that sin can no more accuse 
us, the conscience being, through a believing reliance on 
the mercy of God, brought into safety and peace. The 
latter — the bestowing of the Holy Spirit with his gifts ; 
who enlightens us against the defilements of the flesh 
and spirit, that we may be guarded against all thoee 
diabolical thoughts and opinions by which the devil se- 
duces the whole world, and that thus the true knowledge 
of God might increase day by day : and moreover, his 
other gifts of chastity, obedience, and patience, that our 
body and its concupiscence might be subdued, that we 
obey them not. Those who have not these gifts of the 
Spirit, or who do not thus use them, but fall away into 
the remnant defilements of the flesh or of the spirit, so as 
to approve all doctrines without distinction — in such, 
the flesh reigns, nor do they know, any thing about this . 
washing of the Holy Spirit for which David here prays. 


For I know my iniquity , and my sin is ever be- 
fore me. 

We have heard two verses of this Psalm, in which 
David has prayed, first, for grace and the remission of- 


sins; and then, for the gift to purify and cleanse from 
the dregs or remnants of sin. For these are the two 
iings which make a man perfect (as righteous and holy 
heme God), without any of our own preparations and 
atisfurtions, and without diat feigned repentance, which 
I liave heretofore taught among the people, and which 
tfcc Papists still teach. For there is only one ground of 
jedfication : — the merit of Christ, or free mercy : which, 
hevts touched with the fire of the Holy Spirit, a|)prehend 
by 6ith. — But if any one nil], he may consider the 
tdmowledgment of sin as a secondary cause, or, as the 
kuned say, a cause shic qua non ; beoiuse, it is a cause 
•ly in this w ay ; — that the whole matter still de|>ends on 
fe mercy of God, or on the promise ; seeing that, (Jod 
kis promised, that he will have mercy upon those ivho 
admowledg^ their sins and thirst after righteousness. 
For, witfi respect to sin itself in its nature, there is no- 
dfeDg due even to the sensible sinner, (as we have before 
oiled him,) according to all law and nature, but punish- 
MDt and the highest indignation. And that such escape 
punishment and wrath, is wholly of the mercy of (iod; 
who has declared in his promises, that his will is to re- 
nte, by a free remission of sin, those who feel their sins 
aad the terrors of divine judgment. 

There is nothing, therefore, that can in any way be 
aDcged in behalf of merit. Because, even the acknow- 
ledgment of sin is nothing, but in proportion as the Di- 
nae fmiinise revives. For when sin is brought home 
by conviction, and revealed by the Holy Spirit, so that 
David ieels deeply in his mind, not his adultery only, 
hot his whole nature utteriy deformed by sin ; in this 
stite, if there be nothing to look to but our own satis- 
faction, David must be overwhelmed by a fear of the 
IjKigment of God, and with despair; as I have often 
leamt by my own experience in the monasteries. There 
were proposed to us satisfactions, and an accurate con- 
fession of all our sins, but still the conscience was not in 
peace. We were advised to take the hooded cloak, but 
the same agonies cX mind ranained even under the 
hndeddoak which we suffered beftnre: wecastawaythe 


hooded cloak again, but it was just the same. And I AihI 
by experience, through the tender mercy of God, th«t 
the most certain and most effectual remedy is this :— ^40 
know, or to believe, that God's good-will is, to pankw 
those who are terrified at their sins, and that he coilK^ 
mands such to hope for the remission of sins. And 
David shews, by his own example, that this promise w«tf < 
the only ground upon which he implored mercy, and dnrj 
gift of the Spirit by which he might be purified. ThereN . 
fore;^ about the reasoning part of the matter there is hent 
no mention made, viz. whether or not the knowledge of 
sin be the first ground, upon which the remission of siii0 
is merited. For sin is sin, and in its nature merits po*- 
nishment, whether you acknowledge it or acknowledgi? 
it not. But the acknowledgment of sin is a kind of ao*^ 
companying requisite ; because, God's will is to pardcw 
those who acknowledge their sins, and he will not pardon 
those w ho do not acknowledge tlieir sins. The promtM^f 
therefore, is the only ground, the first, the medium, aad' 
the ultimate ground ; that is, it is the whole groiiiMt 
of our justification. It is to this promise that Davidh 
looks, when he saith, " For I know my iniquity." A» 
though he had said, I do not allege it as any merit 
that I acknowledge my sin, but I confess before thee» 
that I therefore acknowledge my sin, &c., because 
thou hast promised grace to those who do acknowledgsi 
their sin. 

The term " to know" is, in the Hebrew, of a far mom' 
extensive signification than in any other language : for it! 
signifies, to feel and to know by experience what a thii^ 
is in its nature. Hence, the scripture saith of Adafli^ 
that he '' knew his wife ;^ that isy he knew her by BBt^- 
sible and actual intercourse. So, it is said of God, that 
he knoweth not the proud : that is, he does not inti^ 
mately regard, he does not promote them. 

So it is used here, " For I know my iniquity." Ar 
though he had said, I am come into that state, that it st 
time for mercy and help : for I am become, from an.HM 
sensible a sensible sinner, who now know sin and- thM 
judgment of God ; that is, I truly ieel them. And tfaw 


fediDg sense is the very death of nature, unless thoughts 
of peace and a knowledge of the mercy of God, be 
kuKied in by the Holy Spirit — that God does not will 
Id destroy such sinners. 

Here it is that we have need of those scriptures, 
vlddi, without doubt, the holy Fathers had in continual 
■editation : — that the Lord saith, Deuteronomy ix., al- 
tkn^ he there speaks of temporal mercies, *' Not for 
% riditeousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, 
dost mou go to possess the land of the nations,'* &c. 
Again, *' I am the Lord who blotteth out thy iniquities,*' 
I^iiah xliii. And again, *' As I live, I desire not the 
death of a sinner, &c." Ezekiel xxxiii. Here it is tliat 
«e have need also of examples : — that G(xl, when tlie 
Knevites repented, that is, when they humbled tliemselves 
mder an acknowledgment of their sins, recals his sen- 
tence, and' says, '^ I will not destroy them," Jonah iii. 
Agiin, that he pardons Ahab, whom he had threatened 
v& the destruction of his family, and says to the pro- 
piiet, ^' Seestthou how Ahab humbleth himself?" From 
Aese histories arises this theology and knowledge of 
God : — that God is the God of the humble, the afflicted, 
iod the poor, who know themselves that they are sin- 
ners, and who so fear God as yet to have a hope in his 
aenry stronger than their fears. Such scriptures and 
a«mp]es as these, the holy Fathers under die law no 
doubt knew very well and held them very dear. 

Our devoted ones, however, have made up an excellent 
smile out of Moses, Deut. xxiv. ; where he commands, 
diat no one shall take at the same time the nether and 
upper millstone to pledge, lest the debtor should i>e in 
danger of being deprived of his food. This they have ap- 
plied thus ; — that God does not will that nothing but 
vnth should be felt ; but wills, that the sense of wrath 
siioukl be intermingled with the sense of grace ; according 
to that scripture, ^'The Lord taketh pleasure in them that 
iear him, in them that hope in his mercy : *' and that it 
s in this w^, that David prays to be pardoned, when 
fe says^ " For I know my iniquity." — ^What is that to 
nt \ God m^t say. If tnou knowest thy sin, and there- 


folre sorrowest in thy heart, thou hast the fruit of thy 
doings. — And it is in this way that the law would an- 
swer, and would leave the man to perish under the sense 
of his sins. For the judge acts thus, who always joins 
the punishment with the confession of the crime. But 
the will of God is, not to be a judge ; and therefore, he 
has taken away the Law by the preaching of the Gospel ; 
in which he declares, that for him, the punishment is 
enough, when the heart, which was before secure under 
sin, is afflicted and in self-despair. Not because there is 
any merit in acknowledging sins, but because he has in 
his promises declared it to be his will to pardon those who 
do acknowledge their sin, and to be wrath with those 
sinners only who do not feel their sins, but who either 
presume upon their own strength and desire to be justi- 
jied by their own merits, or sin in security according to 
the desires of the flesh, without the fear of God. But 
these gross sinners are yet better than those, who cover 
their sins with a double cloak by trusting in their own 
powers and rejecting mercy. 

David here acts far differently. He prays for pardon 
for no other reason, than because he is a sinner and sees 
his own helplessness. Even as a beggar who comes to 
any rich man, in whose liberality he has cherished a 
hope. That rich man, if he give any thing to the beggar, 
does not give it as the reward of any merit, for wfiat 
can he merit who deplores his poverty ? but he gives it 
of his own free liberality being moved with mercy. 

And my sin is ever before me. 

That is, it lays heavy upon my heart, it presses me 
down, I cannot get entirely free from it. — But here, take 
care that you understand him not as speaking of his ac- 
tual sin. The prophet has his whole life, together with 
all his most holy works and righteousness in his view ; 
and feels, that all these are of no service to him what- 
ever unless mercy reach him. So they say of Bernard, a 
man of eminent piety, that he uttered these as his last 
words, * I have lived to no purpose ! ' This is to have. 


A in view indeed^ not one or the other evil action, but 
m udversally, the whole nature with all its powers, to^ 
sriierwith all the righteousness and wisdom of the flesh; 
bitaase, all these, in the judgment of God, are nothing j^ 
lad Bernard with David, and David with all the saints, 
■tf sav, ** Enter not into judgment with thy servantp^ 
flUl" , 

' letus understood this as referring to the actual 
u. uut this Tvas, because he did not know how^ to set 
ibrth ttoy better the great righteousness taught by the true 
Aeology. For these things do not stand in elegant lan-s 
page, but in exercise and experience, as the illustrious 
Eomples of t>avid and of other saints in the holy scrip- 
twes abundantly show ; of which things, Sadoletus knew 
mxhrng at alL But I enforce these things the more dili- 
pally, because I know by experience, how difficult it is 
to beat them into those who have been brought up in 
dm scholastic theology. And we have need of this ex- 
pcfience, not for ourselves only, but for others also, 
who require consolation under a like sense of sin. For 
wbcn 5iin is thus placed in view, the mind does not dare 
to lift itself up, but always sings to itself this strain— Thou 
•It a sinner^ therefore God hates thee. This conclusion 
« true m nature, in the court of civil law, and in all hu- 
mm matters. Here, truly, the conclusion is just, %vhen 
yoG 5ay, Thou art a sinner in this and that crime, tlierer. 
k/ft the king and the judge hate thee, &c. But of thi^^ 
thou mast beware as the most deadly poison and pesti- 
lence of Satan, — that thou transfer not this conclusion 
finom the civil court to the tribunal of Christ, For there 
the conclusion is not just, Thou art a sinner, therefore f 
God hates thee: for the right cociclusion is this, Thou 
art a sinner, therefore trust; for God's goo4w}fl ,is tOr , . 
waids such sinners who feel their sins. Were it not so,^^ 
DO one could be saved, not even the apostles and thcrj 
pRyphets ; because, '* God liath included all under sin ;"^ 
but for this end, " that he might have mercy upon all.** 
If, therefore, thou acknowledge that thou art under 
m^ if rfiou tremble, if thou art troubled with a sense of 

98 . 

Uie wrath of God, and with the dread of the judgment 
of God and of hell, trust ; for thou art one with whom 
God will speak, to whom God's will is to shew his 
mercy, and whom it is his will to save ; for it is thus that 
his promises run — that he is the God of the poor; that 
he does not desire the death of a sinner ; that he is not 
a God of fury, but of grace and of peace : and therefore, ' 
his will is, that the sinner should be converted and live. 
These consolations are not words of vanity derived from 
the decrees of the Fathers, or from introductions to re* 
ligion, (as they are called,) but they are derived from the. 
Divine promises of the Almighty God ; and therefore,' 
hearts are by them lifted up, and experience a firm and. 
sure consolation. 

Thus David makes this a ground upon which he 
ought to pray for mercy ; " For, (says he) my sin is ever 
before me ;" that is, my sin urges me, it will not let me 
have any rest or peace; the sense of wrath and of death 
which I feel, I cannot shake off by wine, by bread, or 
by sleep. — In such a time pf peril, there is no other re- . 
medy left, but that the mind struggle arainst this sense, . 
and say, " Have mercy upon me, O God," for this is . 
thy time, it is the time that requires thy Divine aid JEmd 
operation, that thou mayest help and comfort a sinner.** 
For what would God be, if he knew nothing else but to 
frighten and to destroy? This is the work of Satan, of. 
sin, and of a man's own conscience. But to be God, is 
to be able to do, and to do something above all this — to 
comfort, to lift up, to give life in the midst of all these 
perils, and to declare tnat he knows how to do, and can 
do, more than Satan, the law, and I, know and can do. 
If, therefore, the law has alarmed a hard heart, and has 
chastened it until it has brought it under a sense of sin, 
let Christ also come, according to his promise, and raise 
up and console the heart thus terrified. Let us receive 
those consolations by faith, and not become unbelieving 
of the Divine revelation. — He now goes on, 


VKMK 4. 

T ^f* 

Against thee or^" '"''- ^ ^^^^^rej, and done nil in il^^ 
iftf ; ihai thou i ificd in iky saytng$^ and 

w^kiCMt avercome wJtca ihou ari judged* 

Thb ▼erse is diferenlly cipauiKled by diflTerent per- 
yam, aod it has ewer been consideredt that thh one UttJe 
pmt is the gmlest difficulty that is met with in the 
ibok Pflttlm* And as Paul hiS cited it in hi^ Kpi«itJti ti> 
it ha been numbered among sooie of the 
passage in the whole Sciiptum. Although, 
I leave it to others to go arcordtng to their 
. _ iDterpretations* yet I have a good hope that I shall 
be enabled to ^ve the true and gieoainc meaning of 

TTris^ then, I would first of all ndvise the reader 
lldot — to bear in mind that which I observed at the 
twgpiwiiiifl, of the Psalm ; that David h here speaking in 
die person of all the aaints, and not in his own [)^§on 
(aly, nor in hl^ own pentm as an adulterer. Although 
Ida Ml say it might not be, that it was this fall uliich, 
iiamedjuni, brought him under the knowledge of him- 
adf wd of h^ whole human nature, and made him think 
%n. — ^Behold! I, so holy a king, who have with so 
BBcb pioos dev'otedness observed the law and tlie wor* 
flip of God, have been so tempted and overcome by the 
irivadevil and sin of my flesh, that I have murdered an 
Mi^^riif OHUif and have for adulterous purposes taken 
tnj his wtfb 1 And is not this an evident proof, that my 
Mare is more deeply infected and corrupted by sin than 
cpcr I diouahl it was? I who was yesterday chaste, am 
UMby an adulterer ! I who ye^terdav bad hands innocent 
of bloody am to-day a man of blcHxf-guiltincss f — And it 
w^ be that in this way, he deriveci the leeling sense of 
Us oitire stofuinesa, from his fall into adulterv and mur- 
ia, %nd from tbence drew this conclusion — that neither 
ibe tree nor the fmiu of human nature were good, but 
tlftt the whole was so deformed and lost by sin, that 
ibeie was n<»tfaing soun^l left in the whole of nature* — 

H 2 


This I would have the reader bear in mind, first of all. 
If he desire to have the pure meaning of this passage. 

In the next place, the grammatic^ construction is to 
be* explained ; which seems to be somewhat obscure. 
For what the translator has rendered by the preterper/ect^ 
ought to be the present. " Against thee only do I sin :*' 
that is, I know that before thee I am nothing but a sin- 
ner : or, Before thee I do nothing but evil continually : 
that is^ my whole life is evil and oepraved on account of 
iki. I cannot boast before thee of merit or of ri^teous* 
nessy but am evil altogether, and in thy sight this is my 
diaracter : — I do evil. I have sinned, I do sin, and shafi 
sin to the end of the chapter. — And thus, the changing 
of the preterperfect tense for the present, leads us, ftx>m 
the actual sin, to sin universal. Sadoletus, in his true 
character as an ignorant theologian, and yet a man g^t 
in eloquence^ so twists himself about, and so alters the 
passage, that you cannot teil what it is. He explains 
the word only thus : — that no one saw that sin but God. 
But who does not perceive the absurdity of such an inter- 
pretation } 

I, therefore, first of all, restore the correct gramma- 
tical construction : — that the preterperfect , is there to be 
rendered by the present. And then, that the word only 
is to be tal^en adverbially. So that the proper, genuine^ 
and most plain meaning is, ^ Against thee I only, 1 do no* 
thing but, sin. In thy sight I am nothing but a sinner. 
In the sight of thy judgment, I do not boast of merit, I 
do not boast of any righteousness, but I acknowledge 
myself to be a sinner, and 1 implore thy mercy.' So also 
that passage, John i., ^' which lighteneth every man/Ms 
to be taken as implying universality ; for the apostle there 
implies that the whole numan nature is blinded by sin.-^ 
That this is the! way to understand the passage in ques*- 
tion, is proved also by Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, 
who seems to have cited this passage, Rom. xiii. 4, to 
the intent that he might shew how it should be under- 
stood.: for in the same place he adds this universality 
" Every man is a liar," that God only might be true. — 
In the same way also the word that is to be explaiii^. 


For David docs not mean, that the righteousness of God 
il commended by our sins, as ungodly men cast it in the 
Mb of Paul, but he merely says, * In thy sight I do 
ooihing but sin- In thy sight I do nothing but evil, that 
km^hl manifestly appear to be truth, that thou only 
ait righteous and the justitier of sinners ; that thou only 
ddi?e!rest from sin, by not imputing sins to them who 
traslio thy mercy/ 

That this is the meaning, Paul plainly shews in that 
lUch immediately precedes his citation of the passage 
liqiiestion. Wherefore, the word that does not imply 
mf power in us, so as to denote the cause^ but is simply 
IV own confession, because we confess these two things: 
— ihat all men are liars, or sinners ; that it might be a 
ttmifesl truth, that God alone is righteous and justifieth 
the onrif^liteous person who is of faith in Christ Jesus. 

For here is the perpetual war with proud justiciaries : 
— ^ihey are unwillini^ to he considered sinners, and can- 
MH bear that any one should condemn their pharisaical 
righteousness. And what else is this but denying that 
(lod alone 15 righteous? David, however, deeply taught 
bjf his own experience, does not make mention of any 
lilgbceotisness, any hoHness, or any merit : but, 00 the 
CQBfermry* says — ' I confess that I am a sinner, nor can 
By naiure and my faculties of themselves, when I am 
without thy gift and Spirit, do any thing else but sio. 
confession I make concerning myself and my whole 
or concerning all men, that thou only mightest 
be jnstr and that no one might know, seek after, or make 
iMnfinn of, any other righteousness but thine/ 

According to this interpretation, then, the certain 
ind g^uine meaning of this verse is this :— that David, 
havii^ a view of his whole nature, takes away fromhim- 
lalf and all men, all creature righteousness, and, by a 
§QBefftl confession, attributes and ascribes unto himself 
Mifatng but sin ; that this title might be left unto God 
vbcftle and unsullied — ^that he only is righteous. 

The effect produced, therefore, by this doctrine, is 
not that which blasphemers conclude, — If God be justi- 
W by our sin, therefore let us sin the more* But the 


efiect and conclusion are the8e.«--Since th« whole world ^ 
is guilty of sin, and since God alone is righteous, the 
world cannot be delivered from sin by any devoted 
strivings, endeavours, and works of its own ; but the 
glory of righteousness must be left to God alone, who is 
the just and the justifier of the ungodly, by fidth in Christ* 
All, therefore, who see and sensibly feel this unhappy 
state of their nature, must not seek any other form or 
way of righteousness, than through him who alone is 

These two principal doctrines, then, of the whole 
Scripture are here established. — First, that the whole 
nature is condemned and lost by sin, and cannot, by any 
powers or devoted endeavours of its own, eet free from 
this calunity and death. — And then, that God alone is 
righteous. Those, therefore, who desire to be delivered 
from sin, ought, with a confession of their sin, to flee 
unto the righteous God and implore his mercy after the 
manner of David. Hence it is manifest, that this Psahn 
is a most blessed production of the Holy Spirit, left to 
the Church for the purpose of instructing us concerning 
the greatest and most important matters ; of which the 
former age knew nothing, and which it could not soundly 
teach, because it had departed from the Word, unto human 
dreams. Whereas, it becomes us to judge of and teach 
others, according to the Word : and the Word plainly 
proves, that God only is righteous. Therefore, no poli- 
tical, no privately moral righteousness, no ceremonies, 
can deliver us : tor whether it be a righteous prince, or 
a righteous husband, (as far as external conduct is con- 
sidered,) he must of necessity say of himself before God, 
*' Against thee only have I sinned," &c.. Thou only art 
ri^teous. — But of this more fully hereafter. 

There appears to me to be so much contained in this . 
verse, that although I have already briefly, and peifaaps 
somewhat deeply, expounded it, yet, for the sake of 
those who are yet beginners in the knowledge of this 
doctrine, and cannot receive it all at once, 1 have a de- 
sire to. repeat what I have already said, with a little mors 

I have mentioned this/ first, as necessary to be ob- 
senred: — ^that the prophet cannot be understood con* 
ttRtiiig actual sin. Wherefore, Sadoletus and others 
bhoirr in vain who interpret him concerning adultery ; 
■Udl H'as, as ft were, the fruit of that perpetually run- 
mg sore of sm, which is engendered in us, and in 
ikicfa we live and die. 

I have observed, secondly : — that this verse is nei^ 
tficr to be understood historically nor p;rammatically as 
die words standi so as to imply, that Gud could not be 
JBstified if we did not sin. For sin is not here treated 
rf metaphysically or historically, but theologically. It 
8 a spiritual treatise concerning that knowledge of sin, 
mder which we pronounce and judge, that we ourselves 
iie sinnerSy and that God is just Those who do not 
treat of this doctrine thus, only labour, as Paul shews, 
ta ** |lrofane and vain babblings : " for they hunt after a 
selaphysical, and neglect the theological, meaning ; or 
tbey err in this : — ^they understand not sin, unless it 
the fruit of sin, or actual and civil sins : and thus, 
they fall away into an hypocritical opinion of their own 

And moreover, as this is also a part of sin, — that 
sfa, from the nature of it, remains hidden, and cannot be 
wholW and fully known, there is a necessity for its being 
fcvealed from above. And this revelation of sin is made 
bf the Law, and by the Gospel or Promise : for each 
doctrine convinces us of sins, which we neither under- 
y nor believe, nor teel, but when we are shewn 
_ by the word of God, And therefore, the Prophet 
tppropriatelv adds these words, " that thou mightest be 
JQstifieci in thy sayings/* — As though he had said, * We 
^ are sinners, but thou art righteous as thy Word de- 
"^ To thee, therefore, I ascribe righteousness, but 

lyself and to all men I attribute sin ; that there might 
be righteousness with me, but with thee only; and 
I do, from being instructed out of thy '* sayings" 
thy Word. For if I were without thy Word, I could ^ 
ftol bave this knowledge, so as to make this declaration! 
coKeming myself and all men. Because, whoso believ- 


efii nQot thy Wordi^ that man will neither qonfess that 
Qjod nlom is righteous, nor that he is nothing but a 
sin^r^ But I believe thy Word, and I thus judge ;— that 
thou knowest my nature and the nature .of all men better 
t^n we do; and therefore, I pronounce that we are 
sinners, and that, as to our nature^ we remain sinnera, 
that thou mightest be righteous and mightest be justified 
and glorifi^ by this my confession, which declares that 
I am, a aiiuier and that thou art righteous and holy/ -. 

In the same manner does the Holy Spirit speak^ 
Psalm xxxii.^ ^' I said I will confess niy unrighteousness 
unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my 
sin." This confession or knowledge, therefore, is neces- 
sary .unto the remission of sins ; — that we believe andl 
conifess, that the whole world is under the wrath of God. 
Thus, th§ first Commandment, by its very promise, con- 
vinces of sin. For when God promises, ^^ I am tint Lord 
thy God i " that is, I am he by whom cometh unto thee 
salvation against death and sin ; this very promise provtt 
that the whole nature is subject to sin and death. Other- 
wise, to whaJt purpose would be the promise, that he will 
be our God ? For if God promise life, it follows that we 
are under death. If he promise remission of sins, it fol- 
lows that we are held under sins : and, '' The wages of 
sin is death/' Rom. vi. In this way, therefore, both the 
threatenings and the promises all shew forth the same 
(King. For they are not addressed unto beasts which re- 
maiain death, but the divine will, and the promise of 
salvation against death, sin, and hell, are spoken unto 
us men. 

I have dwelt upon these things a litde more at large, 
that it might appear, that the meaning of this passage is 
not to be interpreted in a tiietaphysical, but in a theolo- 
fiical way, as treating of the revelation of sin by tho 
Word : as Paul clearly says, ^' I had not known sin but 
by the Law." Not that he had not sin, or that it was 
not in the world, but he did not ^' know" sin. He does 
not therefcM^ speak of sin essentially, nor of sin meta- 
physically^ but of sin experimentally, as it is understood 
and felti that is, when the voice of God and the *■ say- 


of God come, nhich thus sound Id our heart : 
art a sinner, Tliou art imder the wrath of God 
tad death , — When tliis takes place, then tiegins that con- 
iroversy, in which David confesses that he at last gave 
op as conquered : in which controversy, human nature 
bdda a contention with God, whether or not that Word 
be tree which declares all men to be under sin and God 
i only to be righteous. P'or nature rebels against this de- 
daralioo, nor will it immediately acknowledge that all 
Its works are, in the judgment of God, evil and sin. 
And thus the schoolmen most stoutly defend this doc- 
trisie: — that man has a perfect light pf reason and a 
soandoess of natural faculties. But this is not only to 
deny sin^ which is revealed from above, but even to 
dcp y thai God only is righteous who declares us to be 

And in this state of perpetual contradiction does 
the Pope live, together with all the schools of sophists. 
they will not acknowledge that they are nothing but sin- 
ners, bat contend that reason retains its light perfect; 
ind tlmt, if there be any corruption in nature, it is the 
iafeoor part only which is corrupt and which is drawn 
iside by lust and concupiscence, but that the more ex- 
sdted part has an inextinguishable and pure light — ^If 
lay one should affirm this with respect to civil actions, 
il Illicit in some measure be true, yet not wholly so; for 
eve© in those things, we feel how much nature has lost 
by dn. But when we are speaking of the knowledge of 
God, and of sin or human nature, nothing can be further 
frooi troth. It remains, therefore, that, to know that we 
ue simiers, and that God only is righteous, is the work 
of the Divine revelation alone by the Word. 

And when sins are thus revealed by the Word, then 
tuo ditferent characters of men come to light. — -Some 
justify God, and, as he convinces of sin, acknowledge it 
with humble confession— Others condemn God as he 
ainrinces^ and make him a liar. And the greater part 
of the world are those who condemn and persecute 
die wordi by which they are reprovetl of sin. Nor do I 
nisbi when I say this, to be understood a5 alluding to 


Turks and Jews only, who with open hatred are en* 
raged against the Christian doctrine, for the Pope, toge- 
dier widi his chorch, do the same. For what do iSej 
else bat deny that nature is corrupt, when they say, that 
they can, by the guidance of their right reason, choose 
and dq good ? Moreover, that common saying of tihe 
scliools is well known — * tfiat when a man does ail diat 
lies in his power, then God will most certainly give him 
grace/ Is not this to make God a liar who says in his 
word, ^^ all have sinned ; " and that, ^^ there is none that 
doeth good, no not one. They are all gone out of die 
way; they are altogether become unprofitable," &c.? He 
does not reprove of a certain unclean lust, of concu- 
piscence, of covetousness only, &c., but he reproves of 
greater things; that is, of departure from God — ^that the 
whole of nature seeketh not after God, doth not think 
upon God, is without faith in troubles, is without fear in 
prosperity, &c. All these things prove, that human rea- 
son, together with its will, is blind and averse to God 
and truth. And because we teach and defend these things, 
therefore we are condemned as heretics, and are dragged 
to punishment. And this is what the Psalm saith : — 
that God is not justified by the ungodly in his ^'sayings,** 
but is contended with and condemned. 

Let us then learn, that it is sin thus to contend with 
God, and to judge him in his Word. And let us rather 
act thus: — although we should not understand these 
things plainly, yet, let us believe him who hath created^ 
us, and who passes the sentence upon us ; for he knows 
of what composition or clay we are, though we do not 
know ourselves. For as the vessel of the potter whidi 
has been cracked by a fall or by any other accident, 
knows nbt that it is cracked, while the potter sees and 
knows it ; in the same manner we also do not fully know 
our sinfulness. Let us therefore confess our infirmity, 
and say with reverence, * O Lord, I am thy clay, and 
thou art my former or potter; and as thou hast pro-* 
nounced me a sinner, I assent to thy Word, and I wil- 
lingly acknowledge and confess this iniquity which lieth' 
hidden in my flesh and my whole nature, that thou might- 


est be glorified, and that I mig^t be confounded ; that 
ikm mijH^tBst be righteousness and life, and that I, to- 
gedier with all men, might be sin and death ; that thou 
B^test be the greatest good, and I, together with all 
■eo, the extreme of evil. This I acknowledge and con- 
fca^ being thns tau^t by thy promises and bv thy Law, 
ht not by my own reason ; for that would cover this 
Uqoi^, nay, would even set it off. But my desire lies 
iiieeiDg /Aee ^orified.' — Whoso in this manner confesses 
lis sin, be prays this verse with right understanding 
* Against thee only have I sinned and done this evil in 
dty si^ ; that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings/' 

And mightest overcome when thou artjiulged. 

This clause he adds for our consolation. For that 
Divine judgment by which we are ail declared to be sin- 
ners, and God alone to be just, suffers opposition and 
KbdilioD (so to speak) from the greatest part of the world : 
e I have before shewn concerning the Turks, Jews, 
md also Papists. Nay, we ourselves also inwardly fight 
iguist this judgment of God, which, in his '' sayings,*' 
£a is, both in his promises and his I^w, reproves us of 
OB. For even in the saints there remains a working of 
that bbsphemy, wliich often feels an indignation that all 
tliar works are reproved. Moreover, there is in the saints 
das feding: — they think they should pray more diligently, 
bdieve more folly, and praise God more, if they could but 
lee that they were of clean hands and pure affections, and 
6ee from all sin : whereas, this is not to be man, but (iod, 
or an angel ! Thus does the sin which lies hidden even 
■ the saints, work against God. For although their spi- 
ritnal mind may be governed by the Word, and acquiesce 
is it, yet even Paul confesses, that there is ''another 
law in bis members, warring against'' his spirit and the 
Word* This perpetual opposition, even the saints per- 
ceive and feel in themselves. What wonder, therefore, 
if tkof also oppose, who hate the Word and depend on 
ir orders and their masses ! 
We, thoefore^ who embrace this confessioD, hava 


this consolation or privilege : — that althoa^ we be as* 
sailed by these contrjadictors, yet, we are <iot ovefccma 
For it is not we who are oppo^, the contradiction is 
not against us only, but it is our Lord Jesus Christ him- 
self who is opposed, the contradiction is against tbe 
Word; that is, agsiinst the promises and the Divine 
Law. Therefore, we are earnestly to wait the event, ac- 
cording to these words — ^^ and mi^test overcome when 
thou art judged." Thus, even our Lord Jesus Christ 
himself is by the Pope made a heretic! Our God 
himself, who promises the firee remission of sins throu^ 
Christ, is condemned by the righteous monks and 
sanctified hypocrites, as a most noxious pest ! The rea- 
son and wisdom of our flesh condemn the wisdom of the 
Word of God ! But hope thou for the expected event; 
and despond not in thy mind in so great a multitude 
of contradictors. — ^The Lord himself will, both in ns, 
and in his Word, " overcome " the blaspheming mouths 
of those who will not acknowledge their uncleanness^ 
and who endeavour to bring before Christ their own 
righteousness ! 

This opinion of self-righteousness is the most awfid 
blasphemy against God. Wherefore, let no one think 
that it was said without cause by Christ, ^^ The publi- 
cans and harlots enter the kingdom of Gx>d before yon!* 
For these, as they live in open sins, are humbled and 
confess that they are sinners. Whereas, those enter everf 
hour into new contendings with God; wherein they fi^ 
against grace, and defend themselves. Here, if we stood 
alone, we should, perhaps, be compelled to yield to the 
fiury of the world and of hypocrites. But here we have the 
consolation — that God is condemned, not in our sayings 
and works, but in his own ^' sayings." — And thus, the 
Pope excommunicated and condemned me, not because 
I was helpless and a sinner, for he could put up with my 
sins, even as he bears with the fornications, the adulte* 
ries, the infamous kinds of lusts, in all his tribe : but it 
is this that he condemns : it is for this that he excom- 
municates me and other brethren : — because, we teach 
tl)e "sayings" of God, by which sins and blinded Popery 


reproved. But we ourselves could not do this, if we 
Dol thus taught out of the " sayings " of God. 
r therefore we be accused and condemned as here- 
tics, if our doctrine be adjudged pernicious, because it 
co l ide iTins all that human wisdom, and those devoted 
cAins which we follow after in order to appease God> 
mod if terrible conflicts and perturbations arise there- 
finmit we have here this consolation : — that he will 
•• OfWTome : '' because, it is not we ulone, but his 
** sayings/' that are fought against and condemned, 
^Riese, therefore, he will defend and protect against his 
advcrraries. He gives, indeed, his Word, that it might 
teach and save ; but if they will not receive it, he will 
am *mfrer his Word to he trodden under foot, but Milh 
jm the contrary, tread upon the enemies of his Word — 
^^■d diat experience has proved ! 

^^^ TI ^ -olation which the present text holds out to 

I as, un litradictions which fall upon us through the 

I aeonimunication and persecution of the false church 
■ afid of tyrants, we may apply also to our own minds, 
I For, ms t have just observed, such contradiction, or con- 
tendmg against God and his " sayings,** remains in our 
own Besih. When we experience this, we ought not to be 

tax dawB in our mind ; for, if the spirit but remain up- 
li^ty and the man believe and confess that he is a sin- 
n* "V , although sometimes such blasphemies against 
tf#r , tient of God be felt, yet, it will come to pass, 
thai the spirit shall overcome, even as God, who giveth 
k the spmt, overcometh in such judgment. But this vic- 
w lory is to be understood also in the spirit : because, in 
nuity, the contrary is felt, and it seems that God and 
oar spirit are both overcome, and that the flesh and the 
wotM overcome them ; for we find, that nearly the whole 
valid condemns us ; seeing that, those who assent to the 
**«iyiiigs'' of God are very few indeed* And moreover, 
iaiia, and in the saints, the tumults of the flesh are such, 
tfcat tbey seem to extinguish the spirit altogether. But 
deal thou courageously against these perils ; and believe, 
^ku thou ait a sinner M'hom God wills to consider as a 
mi, if thou confess thyself to be lost. By this confession, 




ivherein thou confoundest thyself and openest thy wounds 
to the physician, thou glorihest God, and callest him to 
his ovvn proper and divine work — that, as a physician, 
he would heal thy sick mind. 

On the contrary, those who do not this, but take to 
themselves a certain opinion of righteousness; such, 
contend with their Maker, blaspheme him, and deny him ; 
they say he is a liar, and persecute his grace and favour 
with which it is his will to embrace us; nay, they persecute 
eternal life itself, and make of God a devil; — so great is 
the depth of human depravity, when we do not yield all 
assent to the Word of God I But this even the godly 
sometimes feel, when they have fallen from the Word 
and this confession. — How often has it been the case 
with me, that had it been in my power I would have 
created another God ! one that would say to me. Be- 
hold thou hast taught with so much faithfulness,^ thou 
hast prayed with so much assiduity, thou hast planted- 
my vine with so much care, &c. that, for this thy dili- 
gence, thou shalt be much more dear to me ! — Such a 
God, who might be conciliated by our works, nature 
would willingly serve : but a God who pardons freely, ■ 
it hates ! This the example of our adversaries testifies, 
who can endure any thing, but our saying that the re- 
mission of sins, or mercy, is received by faith only. Thus 
the children of Israel sought after a God who would re- 
ward their works, but a God that accused of sin and 
pardoned freely they persecuted ; God indeed does will 
amply to reward our works according to his Word, but 
he wUls that this should be done first : — that we confess 
that we are sinners, and that we trust to his mercy ! 

Hence then there are two sorts of men : of whom, 
some confess with David that God alone is just, true, 
and holy: and others, are ungodly, and after the manner 
of the giants, fight against God: saying, Thy word is- 
not true. We are not blind. There is in me still some-- 
thing of light concerning God ; according to which, if I ' 
walk, I shall be in grace. — This is to make of God a 
trader, and to say unto him, If thou wilt give me the price, 
thou shalt have it. And in this sentiment ail the doctors 


scbools agree. What Scotus say, is well know!j;i 

If a man can choose what is less good, he can alsor^ 

choose what is more good. Man loves the creature; 

iberefore, much more will he love the Creator above all 

things.' — A theological conclusion truly, and worthy a 

doctor in a church of darkness ! He does not see, tliat 

niazi^ i^hen he loves the creature so much, by no means 

loves it as a creature. For who ever loved a maiden, 

or gold, as a maiden or gold? Tliis love is polluted with 

lust &Dd avarice, and never can, in this flesh, be perfectly 

pQre. And numberless other sentiments of this kind are 

to be fooad in the modems, that plainly manifest this 

llest which reason ever carries on against the " sayings' 

fCod* In the meantime, I make no mention here, of 

privately moral and political righteousness, for even 

where this is in its most perfect state, yet, this doctrine 

sdU stands good ; ** Against thee only have I sinned, 

ind done this evil in thy sight/' 

And with respect to the Hebrew, the word which 
oar interpreter has rendered '* that thou mightest be 
JBslitjed," properly signifies, that thou mightest be pure 
or desn. As though he had said, when thou pronouncest 
iieo to be sinners, then it immediately follows, that thou 
irt judged and condemned : for reason cannot bear this 
juJ^joient of thine, and therefore it calls it heresy and 
the doctrine of devils. But what of that ! They con- 
demn and spit upon thy " sayings," but thou, neverthe- 
ksB^ remainest pure, clean, and just; while they are 
pnnred to be unclean. Although, therefore, the text 
eootaizts a Hebraism, yet, the rendering of our interpre- 
ter does not displease me, for it more clearly points out 
thk contradiction and the event of it, and yet, does not 
depart from the sense of the original. For since the sense 
i thuSt Thou art found perfect or pure, this antithesis 
mately follows; Tlierefore, those who condemn 
rjadgment of thy ** sayings," are impure and corrupt. 
' this is — God conquering, and not those who con- 
lead with God ! 

This is the proper and genuine meaning of the verse 
Mne 05. But let us shew also the rather strained sense 




which some hera use, that w« may ip every respect aa^ 
tisfy the reader. For although this is not the proparf 
meaning, yet it is not an ungcSly meaning, and is AiH« 
consolation ; and I myself have often used 4t to comfitm 
others, and in my own temptations also. It is^tfaur.^^ 
When Satan troubles the conscience by the law, as it it 
represented in the Revelation, that he accuses t^e sidni^ 
betbre God day and night, then it is useful for the mail 
tO> oppose himself to Satan and say, ^ What have- 1 to dd 
with thee ? I have not sinned against theCj but against 
my God. I am not thy sinner, wmt right therefore haist 
thou over me ? If I have sinned, and if that be a real sin 
of which thou accusest me, (for Satan sometimes terri- 
fies minds with those things which are no sins at all,) I 
have sinned against God, who is merciful and long- 
suffering. I have not sinned against thee, nor against 
the law, nor against conscience, nor against any man, 
nor against any angel, but against God only. But God 
is not a devil; he is not a devourer ; he is not a mur- 
derer, as thou art who terrifiest and threatenest death ; 
but he is merciful towards sinners ; he is perfect, incor- 
rupt, holy, and just. It is against such a God that I have 
sinned. I have not sinned against a tyrant or a mur- 
derer. Therefore thou, who art '^ the father of lies,'' 
and '^ a murderer," hast no right over me whatever. 
The right is God's, who is kind and merciful, and there- 
fore, foi^ves those who confess their sins. And he 
is wrath with those only, he threatens those obly, who 
will not acknowledge their uncleanness, and who d^y 
that he is just in his " sayings." * 

This is a godly sense, and a supporting cohsdiatiop 
against the darts of the devil when harassing- the <mi- 
science; but it is a strained sense; for the genqine 
meaning, is that which I have given above. The dedgn 
of Satan, while he thus vexes our minds by settle 
before us our sins and uncleanness, and by urging us '"^o 
perpetual cleanness, is this; — to make us forjget die 
doctrine, that God only is just and holy ; and to draw 
ud aside from our sense of sin, to making satisfaction^ 
and to a trust in our own works. Whereifore, thou wilt 


»^j meet tbift^^temptation in the way which 1 hare 
JKt laid down, ^ opposiM thyself to Satan and sayioff, 
'Lrt me alone, I am not tqr creature. If I have sinned, 
I haie not siiimkI ^gunst thee, but ununst my God, who 
a jmd, and abundant in mercy. — Whoso in this wi^ 
confesses that he has sinned aj^ainst God only, he has 
God for his justifier. For, because he gloriiies God by 
dds confession, that he only is righteous, God cannot 
kt ^orify him in return by justifying him. But the 
ndly only do this, who have begun to be bom ag^n ; 
fle ungodly do it not* 

vEasE 5. 

BekoUj 1 was shapen in iniquity^ atid in sin hath my 
mother conceived me. 

The prophet proceeds, upon die doctrine of acpKNT- 
AVCE in a most sweet order : he prays for mercy, and 
Bves the reason : — because I am a sinner, and acknow* 
idgs my sin, that thou mightest be justified, and all we 
€oi£Minded. And then, he adds the cause of this acknow- 
ledgment ; — the " sayings *' of God ; for sin is revealed 
by the Word. And the things that now follow, are so 
comected with the preceding, that they render them 
mote evidently clear. For he now shews the cause, and, 
ask were, opens the foundation of the whole matter — why 
ir thus coi^fesssed his sin and implored mercy: because, 
n^ he, ^' I was shapen in iniquity.*^ How could he 
express himself more clearly and descriptively: He does 
■ot say, I have killed Uriah ; he does not say, I have 
caomutted adultery; but taking the whole of human na- 
tme in one mass, he says, ** I was shapen in iniquity.** 
He does not speak of any particular actions, but speaks 
of die matter itself, and says, ^ THat human seed, that 
■Has oat of which I was formed, is wholly polluted by 
evfl and sin. The matter itself is comifi : that clay (so 
to qieak) out of which this vessel began to be formed, is 
dimnable* And what need I say more. Such am I, and 
aicfa are all, men, The very conception, the very forma- 



tion of tfae foetus in the womb, before we are bom and 
begin to be men, is sin ! * 

Moreover, he does not speak of matrimonial sin, or 
the* sin of his parents, so as to accuse his parents of sin. 
He speaks of himself, " Behold I was shapen in . ini- 
quity." He does not say, My mother sinned when she 
conceived ine: nor does he say, I sinned when I was 
conceived : bat he speaks of the mass or seed itself, and 
pronounces that to have been full of sin, and a mass of 
perdition. So that, the genuine sense is, I am not a sin- 
ner because I committed adultery, nor because I exposed 
Uriah to slaughter ; but I therefore committed adultery, 
I therefore committed murder, because I was bom a sin- 
ner, yea, wsls conceived and formed a sinner in the womb. 
Thus also, we are not therefore sinners because we plan 
this sin at one time, and that sin at another time;, but 
We therefore plan these sins, b^cauie we were sinners 
before. That is, a cormpt seed and a corrupt tree pro- 
duce corrupt frait : nor can any other than ah evil trJ^p 
spring from an evil root ? 

, But some one may ask. Why Aen was marriage in- 
stituted ? Why did God bless marriage? Why does he 
number children themselves among the blessings, when 
that masi from which the offspring is made is wholly loist 
ahd corrut)t?— I answer: Although God is not bouttd 
to give us an " account of his matters," yet, this reaapn 
ifiay not improperly be given: — that God did not wSab 
that his creature should therefore be annihilated, because 
it was corrupted by sin. For, is l!he whole body therdfoite 
castaway, because the flesh is leprous? Shall God there- 
fore "riot give man eyes, becaiise eyes are- less clear now 
than the eyes of Adam were in paradise? For there !s 
ho doufoti^' that the nature of every member of the bo^y, 
'"Wbb by Tar "more excellent before sin, than it is now since 
it ii comiftted and polluted by sin. As, therefore, God 
has not feken from nature the eyes, tind has not taken ahv 
of the other raembelfs, though now languishing throiq^ 
shi ; ^so, he has not taken away increase or procrtetion. 
But however, upon the particulars concerning mah 

ud wile, this is not the place to dviell. For marriage is 
fKki, lawifiiU and ordained of (iod. And yet, it is not 
U) oe denied, that l>oth the lather and mother h^ve ror- 
nipt tle^h, and that the seed itself is full, not only of 
filthy lu^t, hut of contempt and hatred of (rrjd : a^ic) 
thus, it is not be denied, that Uierc is sin in procreation. 
For how little does our nature rise aliove that of lM*a<ts, 
vhen there is no knowledge of God and no faith in tlmt 
ntercourne, and uiien we rush on to pnuTcation froai 
■ere Ci>ncupiscence, reason only dirtatiufr to us that 
sidi an one is our wife r God, hr)wever, bears witli this 
corrupt procreation, from the situation in which he 
stands : for he does not wish to take a^vay his creature 
ittogether on account of this corruption, but he bears 
vith this natural corruption, even as in a {government lie 
bears witli political corruptions. For wh<> does not see 
various dis^eases and various corruptions iii laws and go- 
vernments ? What government is there, in which even 
those who order and execute all things the most justly, do 
not often sanction and |)ermit those thin«rs which arc un- 
j«at? As the proverb saith, * Where there is the strictest 
justice, there is the greatest injury/ Nor is it tlie fa;ilt of 
men only, but the very laws themselves are not free from 
corruption, even when they are the most equitable. There- 
fore, they require an equitable administrator, who may 
either slacken or tighten their reins, as circumstance.^ >ha(l 
require. And God bears witli these corruptions tliat 
ibere may at least be some establislied form of govern- 
ment, in order that children may be eilucated, the land 
cultivated, duties performed, and business transacted, &c. 
For to take away all the comiptions from tilings and laws, 
K^oolfi be to takeaway f^v^rmncnts and laivs altogether. 
Tbegpo^ater, therefore, is the mfulness of those stotesqien, 
who, as soon as they come to the reins and Sfmts of go- 
Teroment, want to cut doun every thing to the rpot, and 
attempt to bring all things down to an arithmetical ex- 
aetnes6. Those who do this only disturb the i>eace. And 
wrhy do they not do away also with this most l)eautiful 
ordinance ^r the procreation of children, which c^n9t 
exist vjthopt oomiptipD ? A • pr^d^nt ipagiptiialj^ \\^yI'' 


ever, ought to labour more after the preservation of 
peace, than the correction of laws. For those who do 
the latter and neglect the former, neglect the " beam,^ 
while they are busying themselves about the '' mote." ' 
We see, however, the contrary in the proceedings of * 
God. For although he sees that marriage is corrupted ' 
by lust, yet he does not therefore take away marriage, he ^ 
does not therefore take away the procreation of children ' 
altogether. He wills rather to bear with the corruption 
than to do away with his condition. So also a wise ^^ 
statesman will, in the government, first consider how he -i 
may consult for the peace and common tranquillity of c 
mankind, that education and the performance of all ii 
other public and private- duties may be preserved. And i 
if any corruptions present themselves, he will rather i 
pass them by, than that the public peace should be dis- i 
turbed by the removal of them. t 

Wherefore, neither marriage nor any other good 
things are to be condemned, because of certain corrup- 
tions in them. But we are to look to the final object ; 
which is, in marriage, the procreation of children ; and 
in a government, the preservation of peace. But if in a 
government the formal object (that is the laws) be cor- 
rupt, if the efficient object be corrupt, (that is by tyrants, 
for so I now call them) let tlie propriety of the whole be 
determined on according to the better object; that 
is, the final object ; and let all other things be disre- 
garded. Thus, in marriage, if the efficient objects, the 
man and wife themselves, be evil, if the substance be 
corrupt, let these corrupt objects be borne with, that the 
procreation of children, that most excellent and most ad- 
mirable work of God, be. preserved ! — But I have merely 
made these as observations by the way. I now return to 
the subject. 

This verse of the Psalm, then, instructs us concern- 
ing the cause of sin: — why we are sinners. For the 
prophet openly confesses, ti^at he was corrupt, not from 
the corruption of his parents only, but from his own cor- 
ruption, while he was yet carriecl in the womb of embiyo, 
and while he was yet in formation ; so that, his mother 

117 ^■■^^H 

oonmhed him as a sloDer with her blood in her womb^ 
before she brought him forth. The same also is to be 
■Qclerstood plainly of all who are now bom, who have 
erer been bom, and ever shall be bora into this world, 
Clirisl only excepted- And although John and others 
voe sanctitied in the womb, yet this does not alter their 
bene conceived in sin : even as in adults^ who are sanc- 
tififio by the spirit and by faith, the flesh is nevertheless 


And this subject concerning original sin, is one of 
tboM grand points of which reason knows nothing at 
alL 1 1 is leanit, like all others, from the law and the pro- 
Biies of God. Paul is the only one of the apostles, who 
professedly treats upon this point with fulness and gra- 
vity. Perhaps, however, it was therefore omitted by the 
icst of the apostles, because this doctrine was, as it 
pere, delivered to posterity from one to the other. 
Moms also touches upon the subject in his prayer. Psalm 
%c^ " Thou hast set our iniquities before thee/' There, 
he by DO means obscurely intimates, that we are, in the 
^ght of God, under wrath, and suflfering death on 
Mooont of this wrath of God : which death, arises from 
dMr feeling sense that our sins are known to God, The 
lanwe of these sins and of the wrath of God, is, that this 
Inh was corrupted by the fall of Adam in Paradise ; so 
difti; man is perverted from the fear and love of God, 
TUb doctrine, as I said, has been delivered to pos- 
terity from one to the other; but Moses and David 
liave even committed it to writing, and after them, 
tbe apostle Paul. And, without doubt, they derived this 
vBdmn from the First Commandment, and from the 
promise made to Adam and to Abraham. For from 
ibeie^ as they promise a blessing, it is manifest that this 
Qalure is under the curse and the kingdom of the devil, 
in prhich are darkness, hatred of God, a refusing to trust 
God, Sec. 

This verse, therefore, contains the reason why we all 
Miigjht to confess that we are sinners : — because all our own 
ievoted endeavours are, in the sight of God^ damnablCp 


aWd God alone is just. And this do^^lrine Is most eft- 
sentthlly necessary to the church : neither the Pope nor 
th<5 Turk believes it : for I can, from my ov^oi experience 
testify, that I, during tnany years while I was H teacher 
bf theology, knew nothing of this doictrine. They dis- 
puted, indeed, concemiitg original sitt, but they said that 
it was done away in baptism, and thkt after liaptistti, 
there was a light left to remain in nature, which, if any 
one followed, grace would infallibly be given him. Nay, 
they taught tliat natural faculties are perfect eVen in 
devils, land that they have lost grace only. But whd 
does hot see that these things are direct contrarieties : — 
to say, thai the natural faculties are perfect, and yet that 
Dfature is corrupted by sin ? The will is indeed a na- 
XiitBl faculty, but they do not speak simply oi wlUmg^ 
but oi willing good^ and call that faculty natural. But 
this is wrong. There is a will remaining in the devil, 
ktid remaining in heretics, and this is what I call natural 
Will. But that \^*ill is not good, nor does the understand- 
ing itemfdn perfect and illuminated. If therefore we 
^buld speak rightly concerning the natural faculties, 
dfter the manner of this Psalm, and after the manner of 
the Holy Spirit, we shall speak of those natural faculties 
tJius : — that we are under sin and death, and that we 
will, understand, and seek, that which is corrupt atid 
evil. These things accord with the present passage of 
the Psalrii, and can be proved from it. 

Let this suffice concerning the confession of origi- 
nal sin, or that sin which is bom with us, but which, ne- 
vertheleiss, is concealed from the whole world, and is not 
revealed by our own powers, reasonings, and specula- 
tions, but is rather obscured, defended, and excused by 
ih^m. Therefore, there is need of the ^^'^ord of God from 
heaven to reveal this unclejinness or corruption of na- 
ture. Nay, if we believe the Word, we shall confess that 
these things are so, even though the whole nature rebels 
ti^nst ihem, as it is cofinpelled to do. — This is the most 
'difficult doctrine of this Psalm, nay, of the whole scrip- 
'tiilfe bt theology : without the knowledge of which,' it is 


that the scripture should be rightly under- 
the dreams of the moderns abundantly prove. 
He mjw goes on. 


ftr behold thou truth ; and hast shewn unto me 
the uncertain and .secret park of thy wisdom. 

The Translator, whoever he was, is on many ac- 
coools to be reprehended in his rendering of this pas- 
sage. For, in addition to his having absurdly confounded 
the danses in this verse, he has given an impious sense. 
Fur what does he mean by uncertain wisdom? Far be it 
from Christians, far be it from a teacher among them 
mho is of the Holy Ghost, to teacli uncertainties and 
doubts. For in these matters, tlicre should be, if it be 
any wJiere, tliat irAijpo^o/sia, that most certain persuasion, 
or that truth and infallible Iight> by which God, tlirough 
his Word and by liis Spirit^ guarJe, confirms, and fuUy 
establishes our consciences. Wherefore, away with this 
uncertain wisdom which the ignorant translator intimates, 
BOii let US search into both the words and the true mean- 
ing of this passage. 

Hitherto, we have heard the sum of the Christian 
doctrine : — that we should acknowledge that we are al- 
lD|g|Giher under sin ; nay, that there is sin even when we 
Wtt conceived and formed in the womb of our mother* 
Hecice, those who in this manner acknowledge their 
oncleaaness and cast themsjelves on mercy, such there- 
fore obtaiti mercy, because by this their confession God 
ritied, and because he has promised pardon to those 
>• L^u inist In him* After having laid down this absolute 
doctrtoe, the Psalmist now, by an antithesis, enters upon 
a reftttatioD, whereby he refutes those^ who either act or 
te&c4i contrary to this doctrine. 

Bui here we must bear in mind also, that which I 
observed before; — that the prophet is here speaking, 
r. • '* in absolute God, but of the God of the children 

L who had revealed himself by his certain Word, 

by certain miracles, and even in a certain place in Jern- 


ftalem, and whose promisies made to the fathers still n^ 
fnained. This God, t» nqt an uncertain God, not sudi a 
God as the Turks worship, but he is a God revealed, 
and (so to speak) sealed ; who has circumscribed him- 
self by a certain place, by his Word, and by certain mi-* 
racles, that he might be known and apprehended, and 
that the desires of the godly might not wander like those 
of the Jews, who, having left the temple and the Word, 
chose to themselves " high places" and " groves ;" and 
wished still to appear, to be worshippers of God. — Of 
such a God David is not here speaking, and it is im- 
portant to bear that in mind ; but he is speaking of die 
certain God, or the Promiser, who has revealed himself 
in his Word, in his promises, and by his miracles. Such 
a God includes a future Christ. For David does not 
view God simply, or absolutely, but he views such a 
God, who designed t^ save the world by his Son, ac- 
cording to the promises made unto the fathers. There is 
a wide difference, therefore, between David, when he 
speaks of God, and a Turk, a Jew, or a Papist. These 
speak of a vague God, and act accordingly : for they, 
follow that worship which is without the Word of God» 
and do not cleave to those exemal signs by which God 
has revealed himself in Christ : and this is to lose Christ 
altogether. — I give these admonitions the more fic- 
quently, that we may not through an over-devoted reli- 
gion lose Christ : out of whom, there is no God to be 
worshipped or sought after. 

The prophet, therefore, enters upon this general re- 
futation, as though he had in his eye some one, who 
might thus object to this doctrine : — ^Thou condemnest 
all together. Whereas, it is evident, that there are many 
good and holy men, whose life and conduct are perfect 
and blameless. Art thou, then, the only wise one ? (As 
they also at this day say of us upon a similar subject.) 
Are you only the church then ? Are you the only ones 
who have the scriptures? For the whole contention is 
concerning the appellation church. For that name, be- 
cause it carries with it the judgment in religious mat- 
ters concerning salvation and life eternal, the adversaries 


ftriddsK fight, TTiey will not appear to have erred, » 
Idluive taught that which is impious: and although they 
tumot deny the open abuses which have by degrees 
prevBiled, yet ihey will not give up their appellation of 
tnuRCH. Just so, the Turk pertinaciously holds fast 
this appellation, as worshipping the true God. So also 
tbesy le, and so our adversaries maintain this ap- 

pellaLi*'!! ^.>ord in hand. They pride themselves upon 
their various worshippings, (as Paul saith of the Jews,) 
and boast that they have a zeal for God, and that they 
devotedly strive, by watchings, fastings, alms, sacrilices, 
ptayers, ceremonies, rigid diet, and all such things, to 
attain unto the promises made unto tlie fathers. These 
liisii^ I say, they boastingly object, and ask usj—are 
aot these good and holy things ? Why then dost thou 
wr, that we are all sinners ? Why dost thou declare^ 
that 4^e are all under condemnation ? 

In this verse, therefore, taith and the Holy Spirit 
ffwc them an ansu er :- — that theirs is the widom of the 
wiatid, not tlie wisdom of God ; and that^ this neverthe- 
leis still remains an universal troth, — that all men are sin- 
Whereas, the world judges thus: — ^that it is holi- 
if thou clothe thyself sordidly, if thou afflict thy 
body with hard living and starve thyself, if thou seek out 
tome lonely retirement secluded from the society of men 
aod the affairs of life, and there make thyself different 
to the rest of mankind. These lies, and this outside show 
of holiness, the flesh understands and admires. Hence 
it i*, that men are by far sooner caught with a rigid life 
■nil eccentric manners, than they are with sound doctrine 
and the Word. For in the opinion of the world, no- 
dng is holy but that w hich withdraws itself, as far as 
ponble, from the common society of mankind* 

Hence it is, diat celibacy, monasteries, that monstrous 
way of dressing and living, and all tliose numberless 
other follies, have proceeded, not among us only, but 
among the Jews of old, and among the Turks of the 
pieoeni day ; w^ho invent and do all kinds of enormities 
in offfer to obtain to themselves, from those around them, 
a reputation for peculiar sanctity*^ Though we have no 

' 122 

need to ga to the Turks for examples. Look only at thi^ 
hooded monk, and carefully examine him; and when yoif 
have been rightly instructed in true and Christian bpli7 
ness, you will wonder and laugh at those things )yhich 
our adversaries adorn and set ofi with high praises ; pay, 
for the sake of which, they neglect marriage ai^d civil d^Vr 
ties, as so many impediments to their .sanctity. These are 
they, who, when they hear this universal truth, that all 
men are sinners, object, with swelling mouths, their lives 
and their religious observances. What ! say they, will 
you condemn us all ? Will you say that we are all of 
the Devil ? 

Hence, the prophet saitb, I condemn you all toge- 
ther, with all your wisdom, and with all your sanctity 
and righteousness. For thou, O God ! art he who lov- 
eth or requireth hidden truth, (for this is the meaning of 
the words in the Hebrew) and tliou lovest not lies, hy- 
pocrisy, and a false outside show. Therefore the term 
" truth," at once cuts off and condemns whatever is pre- 
sumed upon, out of tliis doctrine. Moreover, what works 
or righteousness soever there may be among the Turks, 
the Jews, or Papists, out of the Word of Go<^; all such 
righteousness and sanctity it plainly calls a lie; which 
God, not only does not love, but even utterly hates and 
execrates- For the term " truth," does not refer to wqrds 
only, but reaches to the whole life; so that, whatever we 
say, or think, or do, or are, must be certainty and truth; 
tlmt not only the v'orld, but we ourselves, may not be 
deceived by it. 

There is also in the world political truth, which con- 
sists in words and actions: but this is of that nature, that 
it is intermingled with many vices. Thus, Pomponius 
AtticQs, Aristides, and Socrates, were men of truth, ^nd 
without an hypocritical outside show. So, there have 
been among men many husbands of trutli, who have 
been eminently faithful to their wives. So also you 
may find many an honest merchant. This political truth 
God requires ; and daily examples shew, that no one 
can do any thing contrary to civil truth, with impunity. 
But this truth is not p^re, if you consider it with reterence 


19 ibe jodgmetii of God, for there cleave to it many and 

ELLcomipfioiis, and God recjuires a tnith far beYi>n<i 
1 *aid iherelore Duviil adds, Thoa iovest tliat truth 
#lwhis ** bidden/' As thougti he had mid, Tim jJuHti- 
cal tnnh whicli is in the irorld, may he perforn .1 

i» ml teaift undersiMd, hy men. And therefore, ^ 

flid Pomptmms were of great reputation amoti;^ those 
them. On the (t' ^ ntl, we hewr daily com* 
of die perfidy, \k imuds, which men prac- 

wpon earh other. 

that inah v' ' ' ' ' ' d to 

tJ.' of men, Uit iiere- 

ftMe ]Mahomet« although he -w^s politically tr^e, u^as^ 
htfcm ^ * ' And I, aWiou^h I was n monk 

traly. a fitlse tmt^ule t>ht>w^ (^t'or I often 

pnpotm myself a^ nm example, as Paul doe.*^, who writes 
ihit he was a I ' ^h^) yet, in the sij^ht of 

Gr>H, I Tvas a li;n i that hypocris^y and ^u- 

p» 1 which i did not see^ but which » nevertheless, 

kt inder m ' -' i ns truth 

ih «cn,) uij le Word, 

■Hf ibh ** hidden ** wisdom was revealed unto me. ♦? 
A ' ' ' ' m the prophet has 

fVpet / st truth in the hidden 

As though he had said, Thc»6e other uhited m alk 
' ilk in a zenl for the law blameless^ and 
Infie chat ire beldved while they are prepared to 

dbibr their risrliteoitsinesses, and imagine that both they 
aodtbeir ' ' ' > ' '• ' Tjt of God — 

tktbm an* , ; ; aith a divine 

tai in vincible hatred. Hecau^e thou Iovest hidden trutli 
inljFf ' * ' mi proud saints, who walk in 

• Cb^ji , t not. In this manner^ David 

joins with hts refutation doctrine and consolation. For 
we, w) ' the prace of God, are in possession of the 
troth. > that we are sinners, and that (rod is jufvt. 

We cannot so certainly take it for granted that we are 
' ' ' n who are settled in a lie; 

>udi that they are beloved of 
Gt>d. ISiay, wltcti we see that thi' multitude of the w icked 



are of such confident brows, and thus presume diem- 
selves upon their righteousnesses and their being be^ 
loved of God, we are often dejected in our minds. 
Whereas, we should rather do this :— <lespise these their 
rejoicings and triumphs, determining within ourselves 
that they are as dung and an abomination in the eyes of 
God ; because, God hates a deceitful outside, both in 
doctrine and in life. Therefore, the piety of hypocrites 
is the greatest impiety ; and their truth, is the greatest 
lie. On the other hand, those who feel their infirmity 
and acknowledge their sin, — such are in the truth ! 

Why then do such fear ? Why do they not assume 
confidence, when they hear it said. Thou, O God, art 
he who loveth hidden truth ? Hence, there is a perver- 
sion of things on both sides. The whited hypocrites pre- 
sume upon their being beloved when they are under 
hatred ; and on the contrarvy those who are in the truth, 
and who believe and confess that which they hear in 
the word of God, — that they are sinners from the time 
of their conception, and that God only is just ; these^ 
doubt of their being beloved and fear wTath, because 
nature cannot think otherwise, when it sees its sin, than 
that God hates sinners. This is our wisdom. But David 
here teaches us another wisdom, even the heavenly, that 
the will of God is, not to cast away, but to love true 
sinners 4 on the other hand, that God hates those and 
looks upon them as liars, who fight against this confes- 
sion and will not acknowledge that they are sinners. 
For why should the sinner fear, why should he fear 
wrath, when God sent his Son to make satisfaction for 
sin. He does not, therefore, dispute with us about 
righteousness, but requires this : — that we acknowledge 
ourselves to be sinners. This acknowledgment or confes- 
sion is truth ; not philosophical, which reason can hear 
and see, but theological and " hidden " truth, which the 
Spirit only sees and hears. This is the truth that God 
loves ; and on the contrary, whatever is not of this truth, 
that he hates ; as he saith also in another place, Ps. v., 
^' Thou art not a God that haih pleasure in wickedness/' 
The pharisee, therefore, when he boasts of his fastings 


mad (m virtoes^ and takes it for granted that on their 
ftODOiinl be pleases God, is deceived, .because God 
lofdh truth ** in the hidden part." Although, therefore, 
m man may have political truth, yet, unless this theolo- 
peal truth be added, nothing is his portion but the 
DAtred and wrath of God. 

7%€ uncertain atid secr^ei things of thy wisdom^ <§t. 

Do thou render it thus : Teach thou me wisdom 
the hidden part, or, hidden wisdom. Tlie sense is 

same as that of the preceding clause : for wisdom 

truth are the same thing : and therefore, Paul uses 
words in the same signification : " Holding the 
in unrighteousness," Rom. i., and Corinth. ** The 
of God in a mystery : " that is, which no man 
hath known : to which reason cannot assent and be sub- 
jecled* So Christ saith. Matt, xi., " Thou hast hidden 
tKaa diings from the wise and prudent, and hast re- 
tealed them unto babes." He does not call it hidden 
from the foolish and from the simple, but from the 
priaca of this world, from the great and the wise, that 
iSbef might understand nothing of this wisdom. There- 
tore, the reason why he calls both the truth and the wis- 
dom, ** hidden/' is manifest ; because experience suffici- 
mdj proves it. For why do the princes of thie world, 
why do the Pope and the bishops, persecute our Gospel, 
bot because this doctrine is hidden and they cannot look 
wftm oor endure it, even as the Jews Could not endure 
the shiiiiiig face of Moses? And then they turn their 
dnried'''eyes to the scriptures, and collect such muti- 
kled and misunderstood scriptures as these, " Forgive 
md ye shall be forgiven.'' " God created man upright, 
ttd placed him in the hand of his own counsel" Pas- 
jiges of this kind they absurdly urge, and manifest 
fetaby their ignorace to the whole world. 

This therefore is truth, this is wisdom ; — that I 
boar God and myself ; that God has promised that he 
liU save all those who feel that they are sinners ; and 
that there is no salvation unless we say with the prophet, 


*' Against thee only have I sinned and done evil in thy 
sight." " Behold I was shapen in iniquity," &c. ; that is, 
unless we are persuaded, that whatever will and reaBon 
tliere is in man, is evil and damnable. And this wisdom 
or truth is '^ in the hidden part," or in secret ; heduoflo^ 
even when it is taught, it is not believed aor cam* 
prehended by the world. Nay, we ourselves oftea fight 
against this wisdom, nor can we entirely cast away our 
confidence in our own w orks ; and we think, that although 
we often err and fiUl, yet we do not err in all things 
before God. Another thinks, that he is free from re- 
buke, because he is a good husband ; another, because 
he is without fraud in all his transactions. And the 
Turk, although he is compelled to doubt of his neligioo, 
yet does not think that God is so cruel as to destroy all 
others, and to make us Christians only wise; especiaUy, 
since they themselves, as far as externals are concerned, 
live most rigidly. 

These things are said and considered by them ivitfa 
great zeal, but they are only truths in public ; m secBBt, 
they are lies. Yet, God bears with this political truth, 
and honours it witli rewards, on account of the pnbUc 
peace ; otherwise, this society and life could not consist; 
but yet, before God, and in the judgment of God, tUs 
political truth profits us nothing ; but-we must have that 
" hidden'' truth and wisdom whereby we may confess our- 
selves to be sinners, and yel may lift ourselves up again 
when we feel death, conscience, and the arrows of 'the 
devil, and say, '' Thou lovest truth in the hidden part: " 
that is, thou lovest those who confess their sins and be- 
lieve in thy promises, because thou wiliest to be anercifial 
^to such. •— Hence, in this particular also, this truth and 
wisdom are ^' hidden ; " because, minds cannot laise 
themselves up, so as to believe in the midst of their sins, 
that they are beloved of God. In this way, both our^ram 
conscience and the world prove, that this wisdom is on 
both sides very '' hidden." For if reason did not resist 
this wisdom in those who believe, nothing would hinder 
this life from being to us a very paradise, full of joy and 
gladness. But flesh, even m the. saints, still •temains 


and opposes the spirit and the Word ; iind ac- 
Odrtin - ' ' "'izs judges, that God not only does 
aoC In . even liates them. This however is 

tbe wisdom ot the tlesli, as I have often said, miJitatinty 
^un^' "* ' hidden wisdom of the Spirit. 

1 -e, therefore, is a kind of refutation; shew- 

ing^ titat aii the other wisdoms and truths in the worki 
are external and public, and rendered, by their fair out- 
sifle, viiiible to die world; but that, before God, they 
ate iDipious^ lyinj{> and vain, and especially, if there bie 
■ay trui^t in them ; and that, this is the only and true, 
yeC hidden wisdom ; — to confess that God only is just 
wad that we are sinners ; and that^ his will is not to cast 
mmy, according to their desert, those sinners who ac- 
kocyirledge their misery and trust in his mercy, but to 
save ibem by grace! Whatever is taught, believed, hved, 

tfansacted, out of this wisdom, with any view to its 
iog, or tending to (so to speak) eternal salvation, is 
damnable; because, God only loves the hidden and hea- 
veoly wisdom. This text, therefore, as I have observed, is 
Id be lendefred thus ; — ^not as signifyingj that our wisdom 
m vncertaJti but most certain, and yet mystical or hidden 
la a mystery; which reason does not understand, unless 
it be tllumiijated by the Holy Spirits If you compare 
ihe wiMloms of the world with this wisdom, you will 
iec» that the former are as uncertain and 11 actuating as 
tfae sea. For what is there in the world that is certain 
«ir sure ? Our wisdom, however, is therefore certain, be- 
amse it stands out of the world, in God and his Word, 

We must here also observe, that one sense of this 

mie fa^ a suppUcaiory sense. But here may arise this 

V ' n the Psalmist has this hidden wisdom 

- he continue to pray for it. For he who 

<an sjng5 *Again6t thee only have I sinned, but thou only 

trt ju-' V certainly has and knows already, that wis- 

doai v^ hidden from the world ; not w ith respect to 

Ike knowledge ofsm only, but witli respect to the 

Ipmvledg^ of gmce also ; othen^ise he must despair. 

Vby ttieii di>e5 he pray for it? Why does he say, 'Thou 

4ji make me lo understand hidden wisdom/ when he 


nnderstood it already ? I answer: — ^Tke Godly man feeb^ 
more of sin than of grace, more of wrath than of ftivour, 
more of judgment than of redemption. On the otherhand, 
the ungodly man feels scarcely any thing of wrath, bat 
is as secure as though there were no wrath whatever, and 
no God as a just avenger. And this is generally the case 
with those, who follow some external show of religion. 
Thus, the Franciscans impiously boast that their religion 
is most like the life of Christ ; and therefore, in this se- 
curity they pray not at all. 

On the contrary, the godly man, the more he feels 
his infirmity, the more diligent he is in prayer. For this 
wisdom is ever accompanied with continual prayer. And 
as the sense of sin never ceases, so also signing and 
prayer never cease, whereby we cry after the perfectioD 
of this wisdom. This prayer is not a vain repetition, but 
an earnest cry, struggling against thajt war in the flesh 
which we feel, and desiring, that as the sense of sin 
abounds, so the sense of grace and the consolations of 
the Spirit may abound also. Hence in the prophet Ze- 
chariah, the spirit ^^ of grace," is joined to that '* of 
supplications," Zech. xii. For the godly ever speak as 
being sinners, as they are indeed. But because wey are 
in the truth, therefore God loves them, and they an 
under grace. As this sense of grace, however, is weak 
because of the flesh, therefore, even though they have 
the remission of sins, yet, they continually pr&y and sif^ 
for the remission of sins. On the contrary secure sin'*' 
ners say, '^ I thank thee that I am not as other men 
are," like the man recorded by Luke. 

The reason why the godly man, who has begun to be 
godly, and has had a taste of this doctrine, still prays for 
grace, is this : — this taste produces a greater thirst after 
it For such minds, do not rest in the first fruits of the 
Spirit, but would willingly have the fulness. Hence 
Paul saith, ^^ I have not yet attained, nor am I yet perfect, 
but I follow on if that I may apprehend that for whidi 
also I am apprehended," Phil. iii. In the same manner 
also David acts : as though he had said, I know that 
thou lovest this truth which thou hast begun in me : do 

Aoo therefore grant that I may attain unto it more 
tly^ and may not doubt. For he confesses the evil of 
flesh ;^ — tliat, even if there were no world with its 
leranoes and molestations, yet, we ourselves oppose 
fight against this wisdom ; and that our own flesh 
will nal believe and close \vitli that, which we ourselves 
and sav. 


Sprinkle me, O Lord, with htfssop^ and I shall be 
; wa4h me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 

Uitherto, the prophet has condemned all righteous- 
^ftMp, H isdoms, and truths in general ; and has exalted 
^^Vtnxth only m hich is " in the hidden part,'' or that 
wisdom u hich is **in a mystery/' which confesses sin, and 
hopes in tlie mercy of God who is the justifier of sin- 
1W5 : according also as John saith, " But as many as 
iecrh*ed him, to them gave he power to become the sons 
of Ciod, even to them that believe on his name* Which 
were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor 
of the nil! of man, but of God/* Here, he condemns, 
mivtefsaJly, every thing that is of human reason, or that 
m of roan ; that is, every thing that men can perform by 
Aeir wrn natural powers, without the Holy Spirit; and 
imn$ nothing but a trusting in the name of Jesus. To this 
gLMiat rcfuLation, he now adds a special refutation of all 
c^tecMtsnesses of the law or of Moses ;^ — that the 
wprnl ' f Moses are nothing; and that Moses does 

■01 ri_ -prinkle those whom he desires to sanctify; 

bot ttiat a sprinkling far beyond all this is necessary. 

Hie law^had various sprinklings, which were made 
with hysop and with wool, as we read in Exodus xxiv.: 
where, the priest consecrated, as it were, all the vessels 
vjdl a sacred sprinkling. The meaning of this sprink- 
fing was, not only that those things which were dedi- 
cated to sacred uses might not be converted to profane 
15^ but that the people might know that all things in 
llie tabernacle were holy and consecrated, and that, there- 
fare, all other plans of pretended sacred things, should 


pe accounted profane and shunned. Hiis was die priti- 
cipai desi^ in the consecration of vessels ; but tibe con- 
secrations of our apes, that is, the Popes, who conae- 
crate temples and vessels after the example of Moses, 
have no authority whatever: but are instituted only from 
an absurd imitation, not from any sure word of God. 

Another sprinkling was from the ashes of a red 
heifer. Numb, xix.: which was called the water of atone- 
ment. Hence our apes have introduced their holy wat^ 
into thje church, which they recon^m^^nd to men as an- 
other baptism, and ascribe to it a certain efficacy to wash 
away venial sins, and to drive away the devil. Hence 
also, have proceeded a thousand other forms of supersti- 
tions, which these mad hags have vamped up. And al- 
though it be not evil simply to bless any creature, (for 
all things are sanctified by the Word, and all things are 
sanctified to the saints,) yet it is an enormous sin to ascribe 
unto creatures thus sanctified, such as water, salt, &e. 
any power to justify. And if that consecration undor 
the law which was commanded from above, had not any 
power to give the hope of the remission of sins, and 
could not bring any consolation to the conscience, but 
was only a rite instituted for the purpose of external 
sanctification, that there might be a distinction between 
the holy and profane vessels, what shall we attribute 
to the consecrations of the Pope which are invented, 
without the Word and without authority ! The whole re- 
ligion of that people was, by a divine command, con- 
fined to the tabernacle in which the atonement was 
made. There they had the sure testimony of God, that 
God would accept their holy things, and would hear 
their prayers. And in order to commend this place 
more unto men, and to lead their minds from idolatry, 
which they committed who offered sacrifices in any 
other place, and with any other vessels, God, by a 
divine voice, commanded Moses to consecrate both the 
temple and all the vessels of the temple. 

Tlie case, however, under the New Testament, is far 
different. For God is worshipped and adored in spirit, 
not in ^^this mountain" only, but in every place: and 


, all the sacrifices are completed in the one sa- 
of Christ. Nor do we, in the supper, retain the 
ifice, but the '• remembrance" of the sacrifice, made 
by Christ : and the sacrifice which Christ then oflered, 
we, arcnrding to his Word, do not sacrifice over again, 
bol distribute only to those that believe. — Therefore, 
wither temple nor vessels are to be consecrated ; be- 
CBBse, we not only have no word of God wherein we are 
eominanded to do this, but we luxve not now the cause 
fer it, which there was under the law. 

TTie Psalm, therefore, speaks of the Mosaic washings 

ami purifications in «^eneral ; and plainly denies, that 

ihey avail unto justification ; but that another purifica- 

tsoQ iH required, which is not performed with hysop and 

the water of purification, but by the mercy of God par- 

doQing our sins. This doctrine, witliout doubt, offended 

y; for the sermons of the pro[>hets abundantly 

with nhat a madness for sacrificinii men were 

fiUed ; seeing that, they w^ished theretiy to atone for 

tfietr sins. Hence, even while the sacrifices commanded 

of God were yet remaining, the most severe protesta- 

liCMos of the prophets were made a^^ainst sacrificing^ 

uliereiii, God plainly saith, that he did not desire the 

^taiiiees w hich he had instituted ; as may be seen 

lidili i. and Psalm 1. Because, they were not instituted 

of God to the end that sins mijrhf be taken away by 

Aaro, for this was tlie design of the perfect and finishea 

ncrifice of Christ only. But their design wi\s, first, to 

&tifi};ui6h this people from all other nations, that the 

people fnym whom Christ was to be boro might be made 

iipiaUy manifest. And secondly, these services thus in- 

slitaied were profitable as a preventive against their 

making a worship of their own. For such is our nature, 

chat it cannot exist without some worship of God : and 

vliere it has not the Word, it turns to inventing such 

iiiags as we see in the examples of the gentiles and of 

t e ^ope. 

^K The Jews, therefore, when sacrificing in the temple, 
^^^liile it was appointed to those services, knew that they 
B wcR! worshipping God externally according to his Word : 

I "* 


but the external worship profiteth not unto salvation. ^ 
There was, therefore, the true and sure internal worship '^ 
also, viz. faith in the future Christ, or the blessed Seed. •' 
This was the worship that was most pleasing unto God, * 
and necessary unto salvation. But the greater part of them, i^' 
neglecting this worship, wished to be saved by their sa- « 
crifices. Against these the prophets inveighed, and CQP- *s 
demned the external worship • without the internal, in «« 
order to teach them, that they must first believe in the i^ 
blessed Seed, and then perform also those external ser- iK 
vices of the legal worship. — The Psalmist, therefore, (» 
setting aside, yea, rejecting all the sprinklings of the law, ^ 
seeks from the Lord another sprinkling and another ^g 
hysop. Here, no doubt others used to say to him — Whfl)t 55; 
seek'est thou, O King ? Dost thou desire to be washcfi ^ 
and cleansed ? Why dost thou not use the washingis hi 
commanded by Moses ? Dost thou despise them aft 14 
useless ? Why then were they ordained of God ? For >i 
they are not the commands of Moses, but of God ! — But U] 
David plainly shews, that those washings were useless \i 
and polluted, if any one should wish to cleanse his soul j, 
or his heart by them ; that garments might indeed be ^ 
cleansed by them, that the people might live in external '^ 
holiness ; but that, to produce a purity of heart, and a n^ 
good conscience, a sprinkling far beyond them was ne- ^ 
cessary. ^ 

This, therefore, is an open confutation of those per- ^ 
verters of the law, who wished to use the law for the ^ 
washing away of their sins, when that washing away of ,. 
sins had been promised, not through the works of the ^ 
law, but through the blessed Seed, which those who be- -^ 
lieved waited for. Because the remission of sins has I 
been the same in all ages, for " Christ is the same yes- I 
terday, to-day, and for ever." They were saved and re- «, 
ceived the remission of sins, through a trust in Christ to . 
come ; we through a trust in Christ set forth as having 
suffered and being glorified. Hence, David here makes 
use of the same argument as that which is used in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, when it argues thus — If the Le- 
vitical priesthood be sufficient unto the remission of 


rhy is another priesthood promised, not according 
onler of Aaron, but according to the order of 
Idchizedec? So also in this place — If the sprinkling of 
Ae water of atonement availed unto the washing away of 
SOS, David would not seek after another sprinkling. 
But since he does seek after another sprinkling and 
iDodier hyspp, it follows, that the whole worship of the 
kw was not only useless, but even destructive, if any one 
joiiied to it the idea of righteousness. And therefore, he 
leaves it plain, that the Jews might be washed according 
to the law, but lawfully, and as far as the law permits, 
iriz. tliat the people might remain holy unto God in ex- 
tensal holine^, but not holy before God in spirit. For 
nnto holiness in the spirit, which is the only holiness be- 
fiire God, another sprinkling is necessary; which is not 
of tlic blood of an heifer, nor of the water of atonement, 
but of the blood of Christ and of faith in Christ. 

The whole, therefore, turns upon this point : — that 
the Jews must use their sprinkling lawfully, or expect the 
mm of the whole law and of sah^ation. For, with 
lespect to the work itself, that sprinkling of Moses might 
still be observed, if these two grand points be preserved 
pare, — First, that there be faith in Christ now set forth, 
md not in Christ yet to come, as under the law : (for 
the godly under the law were sprinkled that they might 
thoriiy confess and testify, that they were of faith in the 
tnt sprinkling that was to come through Christ.) And 
tecondly, that no righteousness be attributed to that 
sprinkling, but that the sprinkled be feelingly persuaded, 
that they are not one straw the better in the sight of God, 
^f that sprinkling, than they were before. If these two 
tfaij^ be purely held fast, any one may be sprinkled 
without peril. But our Jews sin in each particular :-— 
they both look for Christ to come as though he were not 
r ' forth, and they attribute a righteousness to their 

KL This is to deny that Christ came in the flesh, 

illd to blaspheme our heavenly righteousness by faith in 
Christ Bat before we admit this, let us rather suffer 
MoaeSy tc>gether ^ith all his rites and ceremonies, to 


. IS4 

We mast here, therefore, observe the distioctiaa 
which David makes. For if that righteousness whichf 
uader the law, was commanded of God, justified 0Ot te^ 
fore Gody wliat slmll we say of naorai righteottsnesai 
What shall we say of all other works ami focms of w«-r 
ship which men enter upon, without the eonynand of 
Godj like the whole of Popery, which consists in " wiU 
worship," as Paul calls it, Col. ii. ? L^t hs therefcM 
seek the sprinkling of the Spirit, and the inward waging 
away of sin, which Peter calls '' ihe sprinkling of thf 
blopd of Christ," 1 Epist. i., with which all we are 
spnnkled who hear and believe the Gospel of Christi 
For the mouth of him who preacheth the Gospd ii \ 
" hyssop ;" and is that sprinkling, whereby the doctrine oi 
the Gospel, dipped in and sealed by the blood of Chrisl^ 
is sprinkled upon die church. And those who do not be- 
lieve that word, are indeed sprinkled, but so, that the 
very blood of Christ and the Word of Christ shalt rise 
.up in judgment against them, for their unbelief pretealA 
their sins from being washed away. Unto this sprinkling 
pertain the sacraments — baptism and the supper of the 
Lord ; because we are in both sprinkled with the blood 
of Christ; for in baptism, we are l)aptized unto the 
death of Christ, and in the supper, the body and blood 
of Christ are distributed to tlie church. So also undet 
the ministry of the Word, we hear this sprinkling — thtfl 
Christ has made satisfaction for the sins of the worWi 
Nor does any thing else remain for us to do, than thadf 
we believe these things steadfastly as we hear them 
under the Word, and 'as they are set before us and 
offered unto us in the symbols of our faith, and that we 
raise up our minds by a trust in this sprinkling. 

Nor is there any other difference between the present 
church of the faithful, and that under the law, than tbaf^ 
they believed in the sprinkling to come^ but we believe il 
as set forth and already come. And this is the sum e& 
the present verse. David, first of all, rejects all those 
cleansings of the law as useless unto righteousness ; and 
then desires to be sprinkled with the word of faith coe- 
cerning Christ to come, who was to sprinkle the cbuMfar 

^^^P IS5 ^^^1 

^^^Bsblood. For tlm word he prays, that he might hear 
^IKelieve it ; as that which follows toore dearly shews. 
It was by this faith that tlie saints under the Old Testa- 
oeoi were saved^ and by which we are saved also. 
Tliotigh our condition is far superior to theirs, because 
we see these things in a clear Hght ; nor do we hear 
ifaeiEi only under the Word, but we receive them in the 
ranbob, in baptism, and the Lord's Supper ; and there- 
fere Christ saith, *' Many kings and prophets have de- 
iifwl to see the things which ye see ; '* yet still, the 
fcilh by %vhich both they were, and we are, saved, is the 
mmt. Wherefore, if any one should ask, how David 
ocmld pfay for this sprinkling of the blood of Christ 
wbeii it was not yet accomplished, the answer is easy ; 
ibe S|>rinkling whereby those who believed have been 
washed from their sins has ever been the same through* 
oot the world, viz, the sprinkling of the blood of Christ. 
The only ditference is in the time ; that is, that sprinkUng 
was to them, to come ; but to us, it is set forth as past 
ifid finished. And if any do not receive it, through un- 
hilief, the fault is not in t!>e blood of Christ, but in their 
own nnbelief. 

This doctrine is simple, but it is a matter of great 
llboDT to hold it fast, and so to con6rm the mind as to 
detennioe, that no satisfaction, no work, no law, no 
n^tamsness^ can avail before God, apart from this 
IpfiftUmg ; because this faith is tried by various cogita- 
liom. For civil righteousness cannot be utterly spumed 
by the human mind ; and the law of Moses also, as 
bong commanded from above, leaves an impression on 
ttbos, that that man cannot displease God who brings 
More him the righteousness of the law. And moreover, 
•wr own flesh and reason are too familiar with us, and 
vttoo willingly assent unto them» We see malefactors 
to be civilly punished, and scarcely any one to escape 
I ponishment he deser\^es ; and we believe that, surely, 
lot be, that the God, who follows up these light 
so certainly with his judgments upon earth, \iill 
, with the ^anie severity, punish our sins, but will 
us fircelv- And here also Satafi comes in, who i^ 


a detennined enemy to this doctrine, and whose especial 
aim is to bury such a doctrine out of sight 

It is difficult therefore to remain fixed m this : — ^that 
the way of justification lies alone in hearing the Wmd 
concerning this sprinkling, and closing with it by fiuth. 
For the flesh, under a sense of sin, as it is grieved oa 
account of any one evil work committed, so also it is al- 
ways thinking how it can patch that up by doing another 
work. And diis natural propensity, use and cnst6m have 
confirmed. For the doctrine which prevails universally 
in all churches and monasteries, is, that men should 
think of making satisfactions for their sins. And there- 
fore, the condition of the youths in this day, is, in this 
particular, the better ; for they have not been so cor- 
rupted by these deadly opinions, as we were who lived 
under the Pope ; and they can receive that which David 
here teaches much more easily, vis. that satisfactioiis 
belong to the political economy : that we are not to 
place Moses in heaven, but leave him among his Jews 
on earth, and in this corporal life. For there is one who 
hath ascended into heaven, who also came down from 
heaven — the Son of man and of God — Christ Jesus ! 
This is he, concerning whom we have received command- 
ment, that we should hear him! This is he who halh 
taken away the sins of the world ! This is the only n^ 
tisfaction, the only washing or sprinkling by which we 
are saved ! And the beginning of salvation is, when 
thou hearest these things, not to disbelieve the divine 
revelation, but to believe. And as to what the new life 
ought to do, that does not pertain unto satisfaction, but 
unto debt and obedience. For since the Holy Spirit 
works all that in us, no merit of our own can be buih 
thereupon, which might go towards appeasing God and 
ato6ing for our sins, because we are taught that they are 
already atoned for by Christ. 

But as I have before said, this doctrine is held fast 
with difficulty. While we are without temptation, it 
seems easy ; but when the time of peace departs, and 
we are brought under thoughts concerning the wrath of 
God, then, we find by experience, how great a conflict it 


|||p believe ibese things firmly. Wherefore, let all be 
iiiBlOQished, tliat they presume not. These things may 
^taught and heard, and even believed, but to presevere 
m holding ihem fast under temptation also^ this is a pe- 
aibftr gift of the Holy Spirit, So easy is it to fall away 
ilto cogitations contrary to this doctrine, concerning sa- 
tis&ctioas, and the like delusions of Satan. Wherefore, 
wheo thou hearest of satisfactions^ do thou determine to 
ipeak of no other satisfaction than that which is the 
tme satisfttction, and which is called, and is, the satis- 
factiOQ of faith — that Christ Jesus bore thy sins. If this 
tttiifiictioti be held fast most purely, as tlie only satisfac- 
licio, without any addition of thy own satisfactions, thou 
wmy&l afflict and mortify thy flesh, thou mayest sedu- 
lony exercise charity, obey ihy calling, and do ail those 
diiQgs which may be done without the word of God: 
dlis obedience is pleasing and acceptable unto God, be- 
caiise it is done for a ri;L^lit end :— to yieUI obedience unto 
God, and not to establish our own satisfaction. But w hat 
;he Monk? What does the Turk? What does tlie 
Tliey perform various works, they tievise many 
ways whereby they endeavour to serve God, but with 
this view and this confidence :— that they shall cleanse 
ihesiielves from their sins and appease God. And what 
dse i» this, but to deny ( 'hristt who was for this end ap- 
pomited of God, that he might make satisfaction for 
M» and that we might liearhim, praise him, and worsliip 
him by faith, in order to the attainment of the beneHt 
isfaction. But as these self-satisfiers do not this, 
^n in iponasteries, and hold fast their righteous- 
, their fastings, and their prayers, because they 
that God will regard them on tbat account, therc- 
ihey shall hear tlie sentence of tlie Father, by 
he shall command them to be cast into hell, 
^gelher viith all their lastings and righteousnesses, 
because, by them, they do nothing else but blaspheme 
die Sod of God. 

Hence, when we speak of righteousness before CJod, 
there, every law is to be utterly set aside as unavuiluble 
KDto oar becoming righteous thereby, and nothing is to 



to be received but the law of the Spirit, or the ptoibise 
— that Jesus Christ died for our sins. This is the word 
of grace and of promise; by which, nothing is d^ 
manded of us, as by the law, but a full satisfaction is 
offered tinto us by the all-finishing sacrifice, Christ! 
Which sacrifice, put an end to Moses and the whole 
law. And therefore it is, that David so freely casts be^ 
hind him that imperfect sprinkling of the law, and pfayA 
to be sprinkled, not by the Levitical priesthood, but bf 
God the Redeemer himself, that his conscience might 
be cleansed with a cleansing which is ^^ whiter than 

We must also here observe, that what our in- 
terpreter renders " Sprinkle me with hyssop," is, in the 
Hebrew, " atone forme," or " absolve me with hyssop." 
But the sense remains the same; and the word 
" sprinkle," may be received ; because, atonement was 
made under the law by the sprinkling of water, to which 
was added the ashes of a red heifer. And as this 
sprinkling was performed with hyssop, therefore David 
speaks of hyssop, that it might be manifest, that- 
he speaks of an atonement contrary to the legal 

But here arises a theological question. — How canf 
we become " whiter than snow," when the remnants of 
sin still ever adhere to us ? I answer : I have often said^ 
that man is divided into flesh and spirit. As to the 
whole man dierefore, the remnants of sin, or, as Paul 
calls them, the " filthiness of the flesh and spirit," still, 
remain. The pollutions of the spirit are, doubts concern- 
ing grace, imperfect faith, murmurings against God, 
impatience, imperfect knowledge of the will of God, &c. 
The pollutions of the flesh are, adulteries, concupiscence, 
murders, strifes, &c. And the pollutions of the spirit 
are increased in the world by heretics, and the pollu- 
tions of the flesh by other offences, so that both the 
spirit and body are defiled. 

Although therefore we cannot, by reason of these 
defilements, be so pure and holy as we ought to be; yet, 
we have already attained unto baptism which is most 


pm; we have attained unto the Word which is most 
■r; we have attained also, in baptisni and in the 
vocij, unlo the blood of Christ by faith, which, it is 
ceruun, is mart pure. Therefore, in res|>ect of that 
pnky which we have in spirit, by faith, through Christ 
lid fte sacntmeuts ordained by hinj, the Christian may 
Wi^gMiy caJled^ " whiter than snow ; " nay, purer than 
theiufi and the stam, even though iJiese defilements of 
ibe spirit and flesh may still cleave to him ; for they are 
ill covered and buried by tlie cleatmess and purity of 
to which we attain by the hearing of the Word, 
1 ith. 
We must, however, carefully observe, that this 
iriiy, is the purity of another; for it is Christ that 
•Jie^ and adorns us with his righteousness. For if 
a look at the Christian, apart from the righteousness 
ihI partly of Christ, as he is in himself, you will find, 
wbeo he is the most holy, not only no cleanness^ 
(§a to speak) a diabolical blackriess. And what 
does the Pope, by his doctrine, but separate us from 
and take away from us baptism, the lieariug of 
Gospel 9 and the promises of God, and leave ns 
_ alone ? But this is to take away from man all 
and to leave him nothing but sin. 
ten, tliereforey men say, Sin ever remains in man ; 
i«w«i then can lie be so washed as to be "wliiter thar» 
mom}** Do tliou answer : Man is to be considered, not as 
he IS m himself, but as he is in Christ : and here thou wilt 
iod, that tlif^se who believe, are washed and cleansetl by 
ihe blood of Christ* Ami who would be so profane as 
bn say, that the blood of Christ is not most pure ? 
Whml re^ison then is there, that any believing man 
ikoukl doubt of his purity ? Is it because he still feels 
ii himself the remains of sin ? But all his purity is the 
ftmty of another, even of Christ, and of his blood, it 
imoC his own, or carried about with him himsclt ! In 
i iMHMeliokl, is not the son the heir of the father? 
vko, nevertheless, on account of his tender age, is 
anied about» managed, and ruled by the servant? 
(iere, if ywt look at his being carried about, is not the 


son, who is the heir, the servant of the servant whom 
he is compelled to obey ? And yet, he does not, on 
that account, cease to be the heir ; for he is bom of the 
master of the house, not of the servant. 

It is in the same manner also that we are to judge of 
the Christian : and our eyes are to look at this : — Whtt 
kind of person he was when taken away from baptism, not 
what- kind of person he was when bom. For regeneratioii 
is far better than the first birth ; for it is not of man, but 
of God and his promise, which our faith unbraces ; as 
the prophet now proceeds to shew more fully — 


Thou shalt give joy and gladness to my hearing ; and 
my bones which have been humbled shall ryoic^. 

It is not without cause that I so often repeat, that, 
in this Psalm, it is not only the example of the justificar 
tion of David that is found, but, that the very and trae 
doctrine is delivered, how and in what way justification is 
wrought in all men. So that this Psalm is, as it were, the 
general way according to which sinners are to become 
righteous. One part of this way was set forth in tlMi 
last two verses ; in which David refused all other wttjs 
by which men strive to cleanse themselves from sins^ 
and to reconcile themselves unto God ; which are, either 
by the works of the law, or by other works of their owli 
choosing. For he does not only require hidden trath, 
in opposition to all hypocrisy, but he requires also 
another sprinkling, different from that which was of the 
law. And that this may be the more clearly understood, 
he now adds, " Thou shalt give joy unto my hearing.* 
As though he had said. Thou shalt so sprinkle me, as 
to give joy unto my hearing ; that is, that I may have 
peace of heart through the Word of grace. 

Moreover, there is a peculiar emphasis in the term 
" hearing ;" though the Hebrew reads a litde differently 
— *' Make me to hear of joy." But the sense in both 
cases is the same. For what he simply means is this : — 
that the remission of sins, which alone brings joy, can 


141 1 

only by the Word, or only by " hearing." For if 
butcher thyself even untn death, if thou shed thy 
Uooci, if thou undergo and endure whatever can be un- 
dogoae and endured by man, yet, it protiteth notliing ; 
lb( it is '^ hearing" alone that bringeth joy. This is the 
noiy way in which the heart can be brought into peace 
ID the ^iglit of God. All other things that can be tried, 
6tiU leave doubting in the mind, &c. i 

All these tilings, therefore, are to be understood as 
having a particular point and emphasis in reference to { 
Llhe confutation which immediately precedes. For the 
[-Psalmist pointedly condemns, by an antithesis, all those 
iTuiaus schemes upon which men enter, when under 
as of conscience; which, however plausible they 
be in appearance, cannot bring that jay which 
hcBiing^ brings. For the case is exactly the same with 
led consciences, as with geese. These, when they 
pursued by vultures, attempt to escape by flying, 
when ibey could do it far better by running : and on 
the other hand^ when they are attacked by wolves, they 
endeavour to escape by running, when they could do it 
in safety by flying. So men, when their consciences are 
oppressed, run now in this direction, now in that ; and 
detennine, now upon this work, and now upon that; 
lad thus, only heap unto themselves perils and useless 
liboors. ' Whereas, the only one true and certain way 
of beaiing the conscience, is that which David here calls 
sprinkling, — the "hearing'' and receiving of the Word* 

For under the work of justification, we, as to our- 
sehres, are wholly passive. But the more holy we are in 
our own eyes, the more we desire to be justified actively ; 
tbat is, by our own works : whereas, in this matter, we 
. OB^t to do nothing, attempt nothing, but this one thing 
-to incline our ear, as we are taught in Psalm xlv., and 
BV^e those things which are spoken unto us. This 
ig" alone, is the hearing of gladness : and this 
is ail that we do, under the inHuence of the Holy Spirit, 
IB the work of justification. Hence, it was a ** hearing" 
Iness to the paralytic, when Christ said to him, 



son, who is the heir, the servant of the servant whom: ::^ 
he is compelled to obey? And yet, he does not, on."; 
that account, cease to be the heir ; for he is bom of the.:;; 
master of the house, not of the servant. '• 

It is in tlie same manner also that we are to judge of :; 
the Christian : and our eyes are to look at this : — What . 
kind of person he was when taken away from baptism, not 
what kind of person he was when born. For regeneration - 
is far better than the first birth ; for it is not of man, but ;^,-^ 
of God and his promise, which our faith embraces ; b&,. 
the prophet now proceeds to shew more fully — 


- : I 

Thou shalt give joy and gladness to my hearing; am-'- 
my bones which have been humbled shall rejoice. '^'^ 

It is not without cause that I so often repeat, that, ^^J 
in this Psalm, it is not only the example of the justifica-T^ 
tion of David that is found, but, that the very and true " 
doctrine is delivered, how and in what way justification ia '[ 
wrought in all men. So that this Psalm is, as it were, thc.'^ 
-general way according to which sinners are to become^'l 
righteous. One part of this way was set forth in thc.^ 
last two verses ; in which David refused all other wajB .'^ 
by which men strive to cleanse themselves from sins^ /t* 
and to reconcile themselves unto God ; which are, e ithar -^ 
by the works of the law, or by otfier works of their a«ti 
choosing. For he does not only require hidden tnil 
in opposition to all hypocrisy, but he requires 
another sprinkling, difterent from that which was of ( 
law. And that this may be the more clearly underst 
he now adds, " Thou shalt give joy unto my hearing.] 
As though he had said^ Thou shalt so s[}rinkle me^ 
to give joy unto my hearing ; that is, that I may T 
peace of heart through the Word of grace. 

peculiar empbdBts in the 
|te m reads a liule dilTerei: 

Moreover, there is a 
" hearing ;"^oiigh the 

— *^ Make me to hear^i' ^ Bui tlic; ^mim in 
cases is the same. Fori 
that the remission of^ 

m reaas a time am 
wL Bui tlic; %mi^ i 

»«a%^ B«%»mAA fc «.•*•! 

mva«>»ab.a«» aAa»%« ^%,«a\»«^ 

ight of God. All other things that can be tried, 
ve doubting in the mind, &c. 

these things, therefore, are to be understood as 
a particular point and emphasis in relerenre to 
itutation which imme<iialtly prra-dts. I'or the 
•t pointedly condemns, by an iintitbois, all lhc)*»c 

schemes ujKjn which men enter, \\\iv\\ under 
of conscience; which, however plau-iMe they 
* in appearance, cannot bring that jny which 
3g"* brings. For the cit-^e is exactly the Mune with 
i consciences, as with geese. The-c, when they 
rsued by vultures, attempt to e>cape by tlyini:, 
ley could doit far better l»y running: and on 
er hand, when they are attacked by wolves, they 
our to escape by running, when Uiey vnuU\ <l<) it 
y by flying. So men, when their C(»n>ciences are 
»ed, run now in this direction, now in that ; and 
ine, now- upon this work, and now upon that; 
iSy only heap unto themselves jierils and useless 
L ' Whereas, the only one true and certain wav 
ing the conscience, is that which David here calls 
ing, — the ** hearing" and receiving of the A\*ord. 
r under the work of justification, we, as to our- 
j^re ivholly passive. But the more holy we are in 
eyeSy the more we desire to lie justified actively ; 
oar own works : whereas, in this nuuter, w e 

^ A ..l_; 


" Son, be of good cheer ; thy sins be forgiven thee,* ■' 
Matt. ix. So also ; it was gladness to David to hear ^ 
from Nathan, " Thou shalt not die," &c. 

Therefore, the height of all experience lies here : ^• 

When thou art in heaviness, or under a sense of the ^i 
wrath of God, that thou seek no other medicine, and a 
feel after no other consolation, than the Word : whether n 
it be breathed into thy heart by a brother who may be i 
present, or whether it be done by the Holy Spirit bring* n 
ing to thy remembrance some Word which thou hafll'% 
heard before — such words as these, " I desire not the h 
death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted ::i 
and live," Ezekiel xviii. Again, " In his willingness h u 
life," Psalm xxx. Again, ** God is the God of the';; 
living," Matt. xxii. And again, " God so loved the i 
world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that who- ( 
soever believeth on him should not perish, but have t 
everlasting life." These Scriptures and the like, bring jj 
the hearing of gladness, whether they be breathed into :| 
our hearts by the mouth of another, or by the Holy|,| 
Spirit. But this also is " hidden " truth and wisdoo!, |^ 
which men, who have not an experieace of these things^'^g 
cannot comprehend. And therefore, the doctors of the ^^ 
Pope point out far different ways whereby to remec^ V, 
distressed minds. -^ 

Moreover, this verse is a signal testimony, where^ ^ 
the ministry of the Word, or the vocal Word, is exakeo. ^ 
For since David prays for the **' hearing " of the Woiri, y 
he plainly intimates, that the Word is necessary, whether *.j 
it be spoken to us by a brother, or whether the Holy .. 
Spirit whisper to our hearts a word that has been heard 
before. This verse therefore, in the first place, is directed . 
against those, who despise or neglect the external Word, 
and are carried away with their vain speculations at \ 
their ease. And secondly, it is directed against those, 
who, when confused with anguish of mind, either wiU 
not receive the Word, or will not believe it, or flee from 
the Word to their own works, even as the former flee to 
their own cogitations. Both, therefore, are wrong — 


Ibeiibn flee to thioking, and those who 6^e to doing. 
btthJs b tlie only one thing which is not wrong — to 


Aod litis is the doctrine, on account of which, we have 
Mtonty ta be&r tlie name of liercsy^ but even to endure 
puidlBient ; because, we ascrilie all unto " hearing/' or 
Hotbe Word, or unto faitii in the Word^ for allthese 
m aoe and the same thing, and not unto our own 
larki. Nay, \%*e teach, that in the use of the sacraments 
inliflcontessioD, all tilings are to be brought to the 
WonJ,arui that >ve are to take every thing from our own 
wrist, and ^ve it unto the Word. For in baptism^ it is the 
bring of joy, ^'hen it is pronounced^ ' I baptise thee 
blhename of tlie Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Hdly Gliast.* ** He that believeth, and is t>aptised^ 
wbe saved/* In the supper, it is the hearing of joy, 
ibiii is sfLid, * This is my body which is given for 
JK," *This is the cup of my blood which is shed lor 
joa, for the remission of sins/ In confession, or, as 
ttmoce rightly term it, in absolution and the use of 
ikkeys, it is the hearing of joy, when it is said, ' Be- 
iw— thy sin3 are forgiven thee througli the death of 
ChiisL^ Although, therefore, we are exhorted unto the 
iMnnents and unto absolution, yet we do not teach 
libit 4bere is any power in our mere work, or that in the 
•mk ic^lf, (opere operato) there is any efficacy, as the 
ftpsts teach concerning their supper of the Lord, or 
ikar sacrifice ; but we call men au ay from all unto the 
Tctfdt «^ ^J^ttt the efficacy of die whole act may be the 
*-*- -rnice of God, and the very " hearing/* 

. tlie contrary, the Pope, setting aside the Word, 
itbfKites about the form and efficacy of the sacraments 
themselves; and also, about contritions and attritions. 
Bj this doctrine, indeed, I myself was so corrupted in 
tte sc1k>uU, that it was with difficulty, and with the 
t conflict, that, by tlie grace of God, I could turn 
to the ** hearing" of joy only. For if thou wait 
lilil thou shalt be sufficiently bruised with contritions, 
4mi wilt never come unto the hearing of joy. This I 
ind often enough by my own experience in the 

-^^^ >*" 


monastery, and that with great conflict. For I oaed to 
follow up this doctrine concerning contritions ; but th^ 
more I afflicted myself, the more my anguish and di*- 
tress of conscience abounded ; nor could I receive that* 
absolution and those other consolations which those 
offered me to whom I confessed. For I used to think 
thus with myself — Who knows whether such consolations 
are to be believed ! — Some time afterwards it came to 
pass, that when I was complaining to my Preceptoiy 
with many tears, of these my temptations under whidi 
I laboured, and which, indeed, on account of my an 
were many, that he said to me — Son, what is the 
matter? Dost thou not know that the Lord himself has 
commanded us to hope ? By this one word commanded,* 
I was so confirmed, that I knew that the absolution was 
to be believed ; which, indeed, I had often heard before, 
but being hindered by my foolish cogitations, I did not 
think that I ought to believe the Word, and therefore I 
heard it as though it did not belong to me ! 

Wherefore, being admonished by my example and 
peril, learn this doctrine of justification which the 
present verse sets forth — that righteousness is unto no 
one, but unto him who believeth the Word ; that yM 
may make as much distinction between the word of him 
who absolveth, and your own devices or contritions; ttl 
between heaven and earth. For contrition, even when 
it is in its highest degree and most perfect, yet is evdi 
then, in respect of righteousness, as the vilest thing, nay, 
a mere nothing ; for by it we neither merit any thin^ 
nor make any satisfaction. For what is there meritorious 
in acknowledging sin and grieving for it ? Wherefore, 
turn thine eyes far away from thy contrition, and look 
with thy whole heart unto the voice of thy brother who 
absolveth thee ; and doubt not, that the voice of thy 
brother in the sacrament, or in the absolution, is spokra 
from above by God the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost ; so that thou mayest rest entirely on what thou 
hearest, and not upon that which thou doest or thinkest 

Whereas, the Pope acts directly contrary to this; 
He first compels unto contrition, and after contrition. 



- to corae to a determination, whether the Wore 
.;ve or not As though the promise of God 

not eflectual of itself, but had need of the addition 
flTotir merits^ contritions, and satisfactions ! And tliis 
doctrine ibey hold so fast, as even to condemn us, who 
iBKh that which is more sound, as heretics, and to load 
18 with every kind of punishment. Hence there is in 
iQ bulls this clause, * who shall righllif confess and be 
rigkify contrite." As though the certainty of absolution 
depeoded upon the certainty of contrition ; whereas, 
^ heart can never know to a certainty when it is snffi- 
ciefidj contrite. Moreover, the avaricious Popes sell 
these indulgences at a great price. But, O Christ 1 do 
tboQ take away tliese indulgences, and rather permit 
ibftt the Popes should be enraged against us, than tliat 
wtt leaving the certainty of thy Word, should depend on 
our own contritions, as they would have us. Fur we have 
iD certainty settled in thy Word, in which thou revealcst 
unto us, that the sins of the whole w orld are atoned for 
md blotted out by thy sacrifice, death, and resurrection, 
And when the heart hears this voice, then arises that 
**joy "^ of which David here speaks. For how shall the 
nrt not rejoice, when it hears, that such is the great- 

, of the divine mercy, that it hath pleasure in impart- 
ce, and does not look at the insufficiency of our 
mention, but simply considers its o\v n tender mercies 
ttd our mbery. Such a hearing, is then followed by this 
cnifidence, that vve can say — I am baptized, I have 
ly&en the body tliat was delivered for me upon the 
CRMSv I have heard the voice of God in the ministry, or 
hxKSk a brother, by which is declared to me the remission 
of sin&. By this confidence, are destroyed death and 
tfiery other evil, 

I have willingly thus enlarged upon this point, that 
|C may know, tliat the way of the remission of sins is 
AM by works, but by *^ hearing/* The Papists, indeed, 
and pray this Psalm daily in the churches, but 
h not one of them who understands what this joy 
1^ wherein the godly rejoice in the Lord; — that it 



stands in a steady trust in the mercy of God, and in a 
, conscience not doubting of the remission of sina» Whefo 
there is not this trust, of knowledge, or *' hearing^'* 
there can be no sure consolation enjoyed. For I haw 
learnt this also in my own experience, — ^that, after aU 
my watching, my strivings, my fastings, my prayingp^ 
and other laborious exercises, by which, when a Monk^ 
I afflicted myself almost unto death, that doubtAdneia 
still remained in my mind, which left me to think dma^ 
— Who knows whether these things be pleasing witp 
God ? Happy therefore are ye youths, if ye be bat 
grateful unto God for so great a gift, who hear now the 
sound and true way of attaining unto righteousness; fdt 
ye may say in your hearts, if I have not prayed of dcfdt 
so much as I ought, or so much as was sufficient, what Jl 
that to me ! I build not upon this sand ! If I have not bee* 
perfectly contrite, what is that to me also ! This is wfart 
concerns me, and it is upon this that I build — thatGroUl 
saith to me by a brother, ' I absolve thee in the naauif 
and the merit of Christ/ This word I believe to be 
tme, nor can my faith deceive me, for it is built upon ^bm 
rock of the words of the Son of God, who cannot lie be^ 
cause he is truth, &c. In this way, minds are filled witK 
the true joy and the true gladness of the Holy Ghost ; -att 
which stands in the certainty of the Word, or in ^'heariogj 
But here you must be directed to observe the anti^ 
thesis. For David seems to have an allusion to Mose^ 
when he says, " Thou wilt give joy to my hearing/^ Al 
though he had said, I have now heard the law -aad 
Moses long enough, who has a heavy tongue. Away 
with this " hearing '' from me, for it is the " hearingi i 
of the'' wrath of God, and of eternal death ; and theitif^ 
fore, I want the " hearing " of gladness, which comw. 
by the word of grace and of the remission of sins. Then 
shall it come to pass, that my bones which have beaa 
humbled shall rejoice ; that is, my bones which have been 
bruised and shaken under a sense of sin; which neaio 
of sin, the law of God wrou^t in my mind.-^Btft 
as the disciples of the Pope understand not the joy ffi 


ihiGh I before ^j*oke» so neither can they know what tliis 
Ittibiing of the bones ib ; for they have never heard the 
mt49 CM the law, nor have they heard the hearing of death 
wldo8{teir; thdyonly talk of these things without any ex- 
pecieoce^as a blinil man would of a picture. Wherefore, 
tbis knowledge |)ertains also unto that ' hidden wisdom' 
of which David spoke before. For I have often asked 
limt rn the monastery, what humbled bones were : but 
ttfhey had no experience in these temptations, it was 
inqiossfbie' that they should speak, with any soundness 
irrsftainfy, concerninu; that of which they knew nothing. 
ill do not undergo the same temptations, but God ap- 
|NKQt5 tliGin accordingly as each one is able to bear them^ 
jpd«! ^''V? that all shoidd have an expe- 

■n of the law and of death; though 

jQuie experience it to a greater^ and 6ome to a less de- 
pr ' soma have it even in the last hour of their 

i\ the experience of it is always according to the 

ffimi — ihal^ ui|«|er this^nse, the bones are humbled i 
iH, th' ' :th and powers of the body are brokeii 
wondt afflicted ; as is experienced in sudrfep 

fenh of dcuthi and other great calami ties, 

'U of the bonos is a far different 
«cn jfthe Pope, who orders us to me- 

ifitateupon the sins we have committed^ and then im- 
n II ' " most absurd satisfactions of perc- 
iS^ fiiM ^ iilms, &c* But unless there be a true 
ODmritiDn, followed by that which Nathan said unto 
Bttfidt " Ood hatli taken away thy sins," it is impos- 
dbb btit tliai the bones must remain broken. For this 
woQod of the conscience, can be healed by no one thing, 
but by the word of the divine promise ;~by our beUev- 
ingt that our God is the Father of mercies and of all 
ooosolatioii ; by believing also, that ** the Lord taketh 
pleasure ir ' * i fear him, in them that hope in his 

J,, that it is the will of God that we 
Id hope ; and that, if we hope not, we must sufter the 
, of etenial dimination*^ — Hut why should 
hdoflUDknd as to hope if it were nut his will to paf- 
'lib! Wliy should he expose his only begotten Spa toria 



death so ignominious, if it were not his will, that we ^ 
should be saved by faith in him ! ' 

These and other like scriptures are that true sprink* ^, 
ling, and that most effectual remedy, whereby humbled ^ 
bones are healed, and the conscience is raisea up. But ' 
those who doubt concerning this will of God, and look ^ 
at their own unworthiness, because they are not, in holi> ^ 
ness, equal unto Paul or unto Peter, — such can never ^ 
have a peaceful mind. Wherefore, what righteousnesses '^^ 
or sins soever there may be throughout the whole worU^ * 
cast them all away from thine eyes, and out of tby ^i 
mind, and say, Although I am unworthy who shooM ^i 
receive such great benefits from God as the remission off ^\ 
sins and grace, yet, God is not unworthy of being be*^ ^* 
lieved by me, as declaring it to be his will to paidcm i 
sins, as he has promised in his Word. For in theolc^, c 
this conclusion does not stand good ; — I am a baae ^i 
sinner, and vile creature ; therefore, God lies who hat \i 
promised to sinners the remission of s\tf%- Rather draw 'k\ 
this conclusion which David has drawn above ; — I an Iq 
rather a sinner, than that God is a liar. And while I H 
hope in his mercy, I do it through a trust in his Word ti 
which he has declared concerning Christ, &c. i{ 

But a remark must here be made to the reader ami- ii 
ceming the propriety which there is in the Hebrew. For \\ 
in the Hebrew, it reads thus : ** And the bones whidk i 
thou hast broken shall rejoice." But here a great quesr- ^ 
tioning may arise : — why the prophets with singular call'* | 
tion always take care to afHrm, that evils come from jj 
God himself, when it is most certain, that God does ;;| 
not evil of himself, but uses instrumental mediums. For -^ 
thus the Lord saith, Job ii., '^ Thou movedst me agaiml ^ 
him to destroy him without cause : *' whereas, it it 

clearly manifest from the history, that it was the devil ^ 
who burned his house, destroyed his children, and per- . 
suaded him to desperation and murmuring against God, 
These, I say, are tnily the works of the devil ; and yet, 
Ae Lord saith, " I have destroyed him." In the same 
manner also David here speaks, '^ Thou hast broken 
my bones : " whereas, God did nothing else but with*:. 

Jf9>'his band and spirit, and leave David to be exer- 
■fcd with the fiery darts of Satan ; by which he so 
ied his heart livith grief and desperation, and by which 
ksocoofu&ed ajid bewildered his mind, that he found 
Mway of escape ; for the devil is the father of lies, and 
lotritierer. Such an instrument, or medium, is the 
kw&lso, by which sins are accused and condemned. 
And God uses these mediums for the purpose of 
linmbling us, aJid taking away from us all presumption 
boor own works, that we may learn to live simply de- 
jwdent upon the grace and goodness of God* 

Bui let us answer to the point : — Why these thmgs 
«? attributed unto God, when he, properly, does them 
Wl, but effects them by the use of his mediums* It is 
Satan that kills ; it is the law that accuses; and yet, 
Ik sacred ivri tings attribute both unto God* — The de- 

7' lis this : that we might be kept close to that article 
oor faith ^ that there is but one God ; and that we 
ari^l not, like the monks, make many gods. For these 
make two principles ; the one of which they suppose to 
be rood, the other evil. When things go well, they run 
iottic good ; ^^hen ill, to the evil. Whereas, the Avill of 
God is, that, both in prosperity and in adversity, we 
Aooldhave a trust in him. He does not will that we 
fhoiikl be in the number of those, concerning whom 
laiah^ith, ** The people tumeth not unto him that 
iBiileth them,*' For in times of sudden perils and 
kam% our nature is wont to turn away from the true 
Goo ; and for this reason, because it believes him to be 
ii^gry ; as Job saith, " Thou art become cruel unto me/' 
But this is to make another god, and not to remain in 
the simplicity of the faith, that there is but one God* 
For God is not cruel, but the father of consolations. 
Bgt because he withholdeth his help, our hearts imme- 
daiidy make, instead of a God ever like himself and 
cfW the same, an angry idoL And this is what the 
prophets would prevent^ when they all with one voice 
my, ** 1 am the Lord who create good and evil." — Let 
■s not imagine when the sun is obscured by clouds, that 
ifcc SOD is taken away out of tlie world altogether ; or 




that, from a body of light it is become obscurity and • 
darkness ; for the sun still retains his light, though it be 
so obscured that we cannot see it. So also^God is good, 
just, and merciful, even when he smites. He that be- 
lieves not this, departs from the imitv of the faith, that 
there is but one God, and makes to himself another 
God who is unlike himself, sometimes good and some- 
times evil. Hut the especial gift of the Holy Spirit is, 
to believe that (lod, even when he sendeth evil, is fa- 
vourable and merciful. 


Hide thy face from my mts, and blot out all tnhie 

Here, as you see, David again makes it evident, 
that he is not here speaking concerning the sin of adul- 
tery ouly, for he saith, " blot out all mine iniquities.*' 
Here also he sets before us a particular kind of experi- 
ence, which the saints undergo in this spiritual conflict. 
— When the mind is wholly involved in a sense of sin^ 
then, even the righteous cannot enjoy much peace ; but 
grief remains mingled with the hearing of joy, wbtch 
will not permit them to take so much consolation from 
the hearing of joy as they desire. They do indeed taste 
the " first fruits," and, as it wore, a drop from the finger's 
end, whereby their minds are refreshed, but they have 
not the fulness of joy; they hang, as it were, 'by B 
thread, when they want to feel a strong rope supporting 
the burthen of the body. Thus the saints begin only to 
taste this " hearing," but do not drink unto^atiety. Da- 
vid, therefore, in this verse, prays for the increase and 
the perfection of this " hearing, ' which shall sO' fill his 
mind with this knowledge of mercy, that nothing might 
be left to cause distress any more. 

Of this petition we have need through the whole of 
our life, — that this knowledge of, and resting in mercy, 
may increase day by day ; even as Paul and Peter ex- 
hort unto this increase of faith. You see, therefore, 
what a perilous thing it is, after we have read one or two 
ix)oks, to persuade ourselves that we are masters of 


We have before our eyes examples" of secta^ 
>i before they had hardly tasted one drop of 
•osod doctrine, became, as it were, teachers of the nhole 
noiid^ end filled every place witli false opinions concern- 
mg bapu'sm, concerning the supper of the Lord, con- 
oming the obedience to the law of God, concerning 
obedieoce to magistrates, &c. Because, as they had 
jvver been exercised with these temptations of spirit, 
i&d had never apprehended this doctrine concerning a 
tniBl in the mercy of God, they were an easy prey for 
Salan lo overthrow with false opinions. Wherefore, let 
us, wanted by these awful examples, pray with David, 
that this grace may be increased in us, and that we may 
say, — Hide tfiy face, O Lord, trom our sins, and blot 
out all our iniquities, that our peace may be full, and 
«wr joy full ! 

And this very petition moreover proves, that the 
article of justification is such, that it never can be fully 
lesjnt. Those, tlierefore, uho persuade themselves that 
Jicy fully know it, have, manifestly, never began to 
bow it. For aince there are daily new conflicts arising, 
4t one time from Satan, at another time from our own 
fleih, at other times from the world and our oivn con- 
aooicey under which conflicts we are led captive into 
desperation, into wrath, into lust, and into other evils ; 
how ift it possible, that under such great infirmity, we 
aboald not often fall, or at least be cast down. More- 
over, how many concerns does this life bring upon us, by 
%bkh we are often so carried away, that we forget this 
joy* Wherefore, there is the greatest necessity that we 
pray, that God would be pleased to anoint or sprinkle 
us. with this " hearing ' of joy, that we might not be 
overwhehned with that grief which the sense of sins 
bongs upon us* 

1 understand this verse, therefore, concerning the 
increase of that peace and righteousness, by which the 
3ense of the wrath of God and of sin is overcome. For 
lllbough the righteous have, in truth, the remission of 
ibs^ because they trust in mercy ; and although they 
wt, forChrist^s sake, under grace; yet, the bites of con- 


science, and the remnants of sin with which tiiey are 
plagued, cease not. Therefore, to believe the grace of 
God, and to hope that God will have mercy and is 
favourable, is a peculiar power of the Spirit Nor can 
this confidence be held fast without the sharpest con- 
flicts ; which arisir in our flesh, from perturbations and 
distresses in our daily prayers, and from that weakness 
and distrust which are natural unto us. For althouj^ to- 
day I may be glad in heart from this " hearing" of joy, 
yet to-morrow something may happen by which I sktul 
be distressed again, from its coming into my mind, that 
I have done those things which I ought not to have done^ 
or have omitted what I ought to have performed. 

These storms and these waves never cease in die 
mind. And moreover, Satan is ever on the watch to see 
when our hearts are not fortified by the promises of 
God, that he might work in us scenes of wrath and of 
distress : under which, the heart will melt liite salt cast 
into the water. Wherefore, this prayers which David 
prays is ever necessary, " Hide thy face from my sins, 
and blot out all mine iniquities." He saith ^^ all," past 
as well as present, and, with the present, those which shall 
be to come, for I sin daily: " blot out all" — "all!" 
that I run not into despair, nor forget thy mercy. Here 
again you see, that the remission of sins does not stand 
in my doing any thing, but in God's blotting them out 
through mercy ; as Paul saith also, concerning " the 
hand-writing which was against us." 

VERSE 10. ^ 

Create in me a clean hearty O God, and renew a 
right spirit within me. 

We have now gone through the principal part of 
this Psalm, in which all the main parts of our religion 
are handled — what repentance is, what grace is, 
what JUSTIFICATION is, and what are the causes of 
JUSTIFICATION. That which now follows, pertains, ac- 
cording to my judgment, unto the gifts of the Spirit, 
which follow the remission of sins. For Paul makes this 

153 ^■^■^l 

irtioctian : — that grace is one thing, and the gifts of 
-^ r Spirit another. Grace signihes that favour with 
I God embraces us in remitting our sins, and justi- 
ijmg us freely through Christ. It pertains unto the 
pmchiDg of relation ; which (as the logicians term it) is 
ai DO eniiijf, but of the greatest power. Think not, 
(hat it is an existent qnaUty, (as the sophists have 
dreamed ;) for the remission of sins depends simply on the 
promise, which faith receives; not on our own works, but 
ojiDii GckI^s calling us unto himself by the compunction of 
the law, that we might acknowledge him to be the free 
gjfer of grace. The gifts, or free grants {yaftiu-^ra)^ 
are those gifts which are freely bestowed on the be- 
by a reconciled God through Christ, after the 
ion of sins. To these gifts, according to my judg- 
ment, the three following verses refer. For I consider 
that these are to be joined together, because David 
irpeats the name of the Spirit three times— the right 
Spirit, the holif Spirit, and the principal Spirit. 

I say nothing, here, about those useless disputations 
of the sophists, whether David is speaking of the Spirit 
ef&cient, or the divine person, or of the gift of the Spirit* 
For mhat edification arises from these things minutely 
fiftcu^edj when %ve have the plain words of Christ, 
•* And we will come unto him, and will make our abode 
widi him,*' John xiv, ? The true Spirit, therefore, dwells 
m those who believe, not merely as to his gifts, but as to 
Ills substance* For he does not so bestow his gifts that 
he himself is all tlie while somewhere else, or asleep ; 
bat he is present to preserve, govern, and give strength 
Id, his gifts and his creature. The prophet therefore 
prajs, that, as he is justified, and has received the re- 
fttsston of sins, this sense of the mercy of God may be 
deeply rooted in his heart by the Holy Spirit, Hence, 
be uses these words, '* Create in me a clean heart, O 
Cfod,^ For he does not speak of any momentary ope- 
ration, but concerning the continuation of the work 
began. As though he had said, Thou hast l>egun thy 
wirk in me, by enabling me to trust in tliy mercy* 
Now, therefore, finish what thou hast begun. Confirm 


O Lord, what thou hast wrought in me. For not bs 
that hath begun, but, '^ he that endureth unto the end, 
shall be saved." 

Our sophists are in such error, that they dream, that 
it is enough to have begun. For they teach thus: — that 
grace is a quality lying hidden in the heart, which, if 
any one hath as a jewel enclosed in the heart, such an 
one is beloved of God, if he co-operate with him by free- 
will. And also, that, if any hath this first grace, Uioudb 
it be. but the least particle, such an one is saved. We, 
however, believe and teach otherwise concerning grace : 
— that grace is a continual and perpetual operation or 
exercise, under which, we are acted upon and carried 
along by the Spirit of God, that we might not be unbe* 
lieving of his promises, and that we might think and do 
whatever is acceptable and pleasing unto God. For the 
Spirit is a living, not a dead thing. And even as life is 
never actionless, but, as long as it remains, is always 
doing something, (for it is not actionless even in sleep) 
and either our bodies are growing, as in youth, or other 
operations of life are felt in breathing and pulsation ; so, 
the Holy Spirit is never actionless in the godly, but is 
always working something pertaining to the kingdom of 
> God. Wherefore, I advise, that ye exercise yourselves 
in rightly understanding these theological terms, and that 
when ye hear the term " create," ye understand it not 
concerning any one momentary operation, but concern- 
ing that perpetual government, preservation, and in- 
crease of spiritual operations in the believing heart. 

But here we must observe the antithesis which the 
prophet sets before us in his praying for a " clean heart," 
for he has an eye to that outside show of justiciaries. 
As though he had said, I see many kinds of washings in 
ceremonies, both in the temple and at home; at one time 
garments, at another time walls, at another time whole 
bodies, are washed ; but where is that cleansing of the 
heart? For their hearts are polluted with idolatries, with 
vain opinions concerning God, with concupiscence, and 
Qther corruptions which are engendered therein, because 
fhey have not the true knowledge of God. All these 


3te<3 self'washers pass I ^ 

leir bodiesj and garnients i 
flelf O God ! do thou cleanse my hearty tliat I might; 
)mw wliat is tliv will ; that is, tliat tliou art good ai 
fciottral>le ; and that I might not, by fanatical though ta 
QMieemiag God^ be led away to impious opinions. Thia 
ii properly tlie *' clean heart" of %vhich Christ speaks 
\f.ttli V, *' Blessed are the pure in heart:" for this 
'if h<mrt is to be referred to spiritual operations^t 
fio^itise, although the heart is polluted with lusts, wratl 
'^^^\ and other vices, yet, that uncleanness Is such, ths 

t and the riesh may understand and condemn it-sj 
Ueiieet there are, even among the (i entiles, beautiful 
fMliQiis against tliose vices which profane men ba^elj 

But the prophet prays against that uncleanness wluc 
pp«v,.r. -L>tjs not understand :■ — that the heart may be pure 
aij from vain and fal^e opiuions concerning God^l 

ttful mtiy feel, that God is good, favourable, and niercin 
fial^ and " desireth not the death of a sinner, but rathenj 
thai he should be converted and live," For v\ hen tha] 
beart feels that God is angry, then immediately follow^ 
idobtry ; under which, we either perstiade ourselves i 
God il different from vvhat he really is in his nature, 
intl seek other remedies which are prohibited in the 
Wind; or else, we utterly despair. Against these polki- 
tioiis of die heart, David prays for *' a clean heart," 
vhicfa might think rightly concerning God, aud which 
-.:..Kt j^yg God, as a Saviour from^ins and a free giver 
, For he sees thi^ danger :— tliat tliose who have 
thi5 knowledge, are yet variously assailetl by Satan en- 
deavooring to draw them to false o(>inions concerning 

Tlie jiumr therefore, of the whole is this. The prophet 
•'--ce: — tliat he has the remipsion of sins and 
God* He prays, therefore, ati^ainst 
cb Satan ever aims at working,) of being drawn 
» other opinions, and that this knouletlge of 
,ic goodness might daily increase more and 
ibore ; .that in all things which we do, ^e might be of a 


happy mind, and might know that we are, for Christ's 
sake, under grace, and that all things which we do 
please God, even our eating and drinking for the neces- 
sity of our bodies, and all our employments ; and that 
thus, our heart might remain pure in the continual and 
sound knowledge of God, and in a trust in God throu^ 
Christ, and might feel a persuasion, that in every thing we 
please God, not on account of any worthiness or merit 
of our own, (for we are all pollution,) but on account of 
the gift of faith — because we believe in Christ. 

Nor is it in our own power to procure to oursdves 
such a heart as this ; for it is of divine creation, and 
therefore it is, that the Spirit here uses the term " create.** 
For all those things which the sophists have .written 
concerning the cleansings of the heart, are vain dreams. 
And even as such a '^ clean heart " is not of our own 
powers, but of divine creation ; so also, we cannot de- 
fend this creation against the devil. Hence it is that we 
find, that we are so often polluted by sudden tremblinni 
distresses, &c. Wherefore, this prayer concerning me 
creation and preservation of the new heart, should 
never cease. 

That which follows, " and renew a right spirit within 
me,"^' is, as to its meaning, the same as " a clean bearL" 
In the German also, the term '^ heart," is the same as 
the Hebrew, " spirit : " for when we say in Latin, soul^ 
understanding, will, affection, all these terms the Ger- 
mans render by the term, " heart." 

The epithet nachon which David here gives the 
spirit, signifies properly, stable, solid, full, firm, certain, 
indubitable. As to myself, after much thinking, I 
despair of rendering this term in German, in all the ful- 
ness of its meaning ; but, it is ever opposed to doubting^ 
and variety of opinion. It signifies, therefore, properiy, 
* that certain or right spirit, which establishes the heart 
against all doubtful and various doctrines, and also 
against the suggestions of the devil, who endeavours to 
draw us away from believing that God is merciful and 
favourable.' And Christ seems to call it '' the Spirit of 
truth ; " because, it does not feign that which is not, but 


^aod teaches that which is certain. So it is said in 
>k of Kings concerning Solomon, ** And the 
liogdoiii of Solomon was establialied ; " that is, '' rati- 
W,'' So again ihey call those certain fruits, which 

forth, according to their kind, in a most certain 
So also it is called the * certain' spirit ; that is, 
are and undoubting faith ; which does not wander in 
opinioos as children do, but which grows and becomes 
i most fiill persuasion ; as Paul saith, " I am persuaded 
ind sare,^ Rom. viii. For when the matter is concern- 
iog grace and the remission of sins, all doubting is to be 
cast lar away. Though this is not of our own powers, 
hn of God who createth. 

This part of the verse pertains also to the confuta- 

lioii of that outside-show righteousness of works, which 

leaves the heart unclean and the spirit uncertain.. For 

themook^ who has for many years observed his rule with 

tniiieDt devotedness, and has done every thing he could 

<iOy is yet destitute of this certainty. Therefore, the first 

~ ^ ^ to be sought, after this knowledge of mercy, is, 

this knowledge may remain certain, that the heart 

ly nothing doubt concerning the mercy of God, nor 

waoder about in these and those opinions, which either 

^be heart imagines to itself, or which impious doctrines 

Unto this gift, the creation and renovation are ne- 

which are wrought through the continual exer- 

of spiritual conflicts or temptations. For there are 

ay examples before our eyes of those who began 

with iis^ and who all with wonderful applause embraced 

ikam doctrine; but who, afterwards, were by degrees led 

aside by sects into other opinions, or fell away into open 

asotempt tmd hatred of the Gospel. Of this calamity 

the cause was none other, than that, they had not this 

Urtmn spirit* And thus, when they seemed to them- 

nlves to be excellendy established in this theology, they 

were led away by an evil spirit into that pride, that 

ihey either sought for something new, or, through envy, 

ilOii^t to suppress us* There is need, therefore, of the 

iirtaiDty of the spirit ; not on account of the devil only, 

bat also on account of our flesh, and of the world, for all 


these, as it were, with combined force, would wrest 
this certainty of doctrine from us. But the following 
verses teach us all these things much better than I can 
set them forth — 

VERSE 11. 

Cast m(^ fwt Ifwayfrom thy preseme^ and take not 
thxf Holy Spirit from me. 

Behold David's remarkable humility ! how anxiouslv 
he fears the perils which await those who are justified, 
and have the remission of sins ! He that had not the 
Holy Ghost could not pray thus. And yet, he who 
already has the Holy Ghost, seeks and breathes after 
this: — that he might not be cast away, that- he might 
not be left to himself, that he might not fall again I 
As though he had said, I have flesh which wars against 
the spirit ; be thou with me, therefore, and hold thoU 
me up that I sin not again as I sinned before, when 
left of thee ! Cast me not thus away, and take not thy 
Holy Spirit thus from me : that is, give me perseverancei 
that my body may be sanctified in me. For as beforej 
he prayed for the certain spirit ; that is, the fully assuv« 
ing spirit, as Paul calls it, and a full knowledge of the 
mercy of God ; so here, he prays that the Holy Spirit 
may not be taken from him, and that he might not be 
cast away. This I consider as referring to the Sanctis 
fication of the flesh, and to mortification ; or, to die 
new ol)edience which ought to follow in those who aie 
justified ; — that the husband live chastely with his wife, 
and mildly with his neighbour; that the magistrate 
diligently perform his duty in civil affairs, and conniw 
not at the sins of those who are under his rule, &Ck 
For it is well known, what the new obedience in the 
justified brings with it; — that the heart daily grows in 
the spirit that sanctifies us; that, after we have fou^t 
against the remnant of corrupt opinions concerning 
God, and against doubting, the spirit goes on also to 
goveni the actions of the body ; in order that lust mi^it 
be cast out, and that the mind might be exercised unto 
patience and other moral virtues, &c. 



To a maa trained up in the theology of the sophists, 

"ird, that so holy a prophet should cry out 

of the Holy Spirit, as though he had none 

of them. But we are taught by experience, and by such 

cmnples as these, that no one can seek grace but he 

■bo m justified ; and also, that no one can seek the 

etfb of the Spirit but he who is sanctified. For because 

such have received '* the first fruits of the Spirit,*' 

Ifcenefore it is, that they desire and breaihe after the 

receiving of the fulness also ; and because they are born 

agEktn unto life, therefore it is, that they desire utterly 

to cast av^ay death, together with its remnants; and 

that they hope for, and seek after, perfection ; under 

vihkh experience, tiiey fed daily, how far they are yet 

AoBk it. And therefore David prays that he might not 

be left to Ills own thoughts, but that he might be kept 

finnn both in heart and deed in the sight of God* For 

afrU here is very easy, as the parable of the servant in 

Matthew plainly shews ; who was so humble and pious 

the ' 'f his Lord, that he obtained the forgiveness 

aU ' i»ts, throut;h the compassion of his Lord; 

hot be had scarcely teit his Lord, when he fell upon a 

fieltow-servant, and became a savage and cruel murderer. 

liei^ again I observe, as before, that as David 

these things of the Lord, he plainly shews us, 

: it is not in the power of our own working, or of 

own strength, to preserve these gifts ; but that we 

placed in tliis depenrlent state, that we might not 

jftU ; for this fair ; es place, when the Lord leaves 

Of to ourselves, li i rs away bis Holy Spirit; as the 

Scriptitre saith, " He gave them up to tlieir own hearts 

h^ts :^ when this is the case, we immediately falL For 

Ye either indulge our lusts, as David in his adultery, or 

«e &U into presumption and desperation. And there- 

fare !i ' '' cast me not a%vay f th^t is, leave me 

nub, - spirit which simctifieth, for when this is the 

ase^lam indeed ** cast away** and undone. And, 

* tai» ' ' ' ' Spirit from me ; '' for he confesses 

4a1 Kv ... ._ I y Spirit, but not perfectly and fully ; 

are only the. first fruits of the spirit. But after 


his life it will be, that we shall attain onto the fiihiess 
of the Spirit, and shall be as he is. — ^Thus are these two 
things to be joined ; that by the Holy Spirit we may be 
preserved from all pollutions, internal and external^ of 
the spirit and of the flesh, that our hearts may become 
a pure habitation, to which there may be no way of 
return to the ^^ unclean spirit ; " as Chnst teaches in the 
Gospel. — Now follows the third gift of the Spirit. 

VERSE 12. 

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and esta^ 
blish me with thy principal Spirit. 

This is the third gift of the Spirit which he prays to 
be given unto him. And truly, the order which the 
prophet follows, is excellent. As though he had said^ 
I am now justified by the grace of God, because I am 
certain concerning the remission of sins. Moreover, I 
am sanctified also, for I walk in holiness and obedience 
to the precepts of God, and this gift of the Spirit in- 
creaseth daily. And now, the third thing remains— 
that a great aqd firm mind may be given unto me, 
which may confess thee the Justifier and Sanctifier before 
the world, and which may not suffer itself to be driven 
back from that confession by any perils. I have 80 
rendered this verse in the German, that it might appear 
that he prays for a glad mind, which mi^t despise 
every danger. For this joy properly signifies firmneai^ 
or a mind undaunted, which fears neitner the worid, 
Satan, nor even death. Such a mind we see in Paul, 
wh^n, with a glad, exulting, and full spirit, he saith, 
" Who shall separate us from the love of God ! " So 
also David seems to me in this place to pray, that he 
might freely confess his God, in contempt of all the 
perils of the world. 

And this order also David's experience proves, fiwr 
he saith in another place, '' I believed, and therefore 
have I spoken." For the knowledge of the truth is 
immediately followed by a confession, whereby we refute 
all different doctrines. He then adds, that which f(d* 


hw% immediately upon this confessioHj ** But I was 
peatly humbJed." Wherefore^ the establishmeot of the 
'^prmcipal spirit ' is necessary, tliat we may not, under 
this humiliation, faint in our miods, but may with a 

rl spirit despise all perils. For it is impossible that 
world should patiently endure this general truth, 
AU men are liars ; " and especially, if you call those 
hidi tliey preach as the greatest truths, and the 
exalted worship of God; such as are the doctrine 
aikd life of all popery. This truth they endeavour to 
extinguish by tire and sword, as blasphemy against God, 
Tbefefore, we sustain, on account of this confession, not 
Qoij the most bitter hatred, but murders, and the most 
cruel ; ■ ' ' ments. But how can it be otherwise ! This 
cor ki^ ^e will not allow us to be silentj and the 

world Will not allow us to speak. It is necessary, there- 
, that we l*e confirmed by the Spirit, that we depart 
from our confession on account of these perils. 
WTien therefore David saith '* restore tinto me joy/* 
lir -^^"les, that he is almost overcome by these perils. 

I W re, he prays, that this joy might be restored, 
■ which may be the joy of a delivering God ; that is, he 
Kflestrcs, that his mind may be so confirmed, that it 
Bdoobl uot that God will be present, and save him in 

these perils which confession brings with it. This con- 
fidence so fortifies the mind, that all terrors and all 
fierils may be in security contemned. Even as, by the 

II grace of God, I also have so experienced this especial 
I pit, that I have freely confessed ray Lord and Deliverer, 

by teaching and vvritiag of Jesus Christ, against the will 
of the kings, the popes, the princes, and the potentates 
ufahnnst the whole world; and that, in the midst of a 
Ihomand perils of my own life, which were raised agaiqst 
iDe by angry enemies, and by Satan himself. Thus the 

Lord siatth unto Jeremiah, '* I will make thy brow 
inss,*' so that thou shalt not fear even though they 
oiQ ciminst it. And, truly, the office of teaching in the 

cbtutrh requires such a mind as despises all perils. 

Kay, all the godly in general ought to lif4d themselves 

m leaditiejws, not to refuse to become martyrs ; that is, 



confessors of, or witnesses for, God. For Christ does noC t 
will u> lie bid in the world, but his will is, to be preached ; i 
not within walls only, but upon the house-tops, that the y 
Gospel might shine in the world as a light or beacon on ^j 
a lofty hill. But when this is done, there arise immQ- ^i 
diately perils of eveiy kind ; and we are, as we say in n 
a German proverb, ^ fixed fast between the gate and ■, 
the hinge ;' nor is there any thing that can give oB «, 
consolation, but the promise of God that he wm never --^ 
Wve us. -J 

The third gift, therefore, is that which fills Christians .^ 
with holy pride, not indeed against God, but against *j 
the pride of the world and of the devil ; that, the more^^ 
furiously these oppose themselves, the more boldly we \\ 
may go forth against them. But when we do that, thej ^^ 
cry out that we are incurably obstinate : nor do wedeiqf ^ 
it, for our office and calling require us to be so. There- ' 
fore, say they, thou art condemned : — but this does not 
follow. For this distinction is to be made. — Before God 
I am so humbled, that I even tremble at his name, and i| 
I unceasingly cry unto him day by day, that the Spirit \% 
might be given unto me, that my faith might be in- 
cr^tsed, &c. Here I do nothing but acknowledge and ^ 
deplore my utter poverty. But when I look toward the ; 
world, I find that I have infinite riches. As, therefoie^ ^ 
I humble myself before God, so, on the other handi ^ 
before the world I rise into a great and all-despiang ^ 
mind, condemning the doctrines of the world as erron^ ^j, 
and its whole life as sin. Hence arise fightings, contmr *^ 
dictions, punishments, excommunications, &c. on ao- '* 
count of which, David here prays to be established by ^ 
the " principal spirit." As though he had said, Unless thoa '^• 
confirm me against these perils, I shall l)e overcome '^ 
with terrors. ^ 

As to the grammatical part of the verse, nadib ^ 
signifies a prince. Hence it is, that our translator 
renders it ^' principal spirit." But nedabah is withooft ^ 
doubt from the word nadab, and signifies, voluntary, . 
spontaneous, desiring and willing freely, undertakinjz a 
thing with a great mind. And such a spirit is the gift ctf . 

GoB, With which he fills the mmJ that we be not terri- 
fed by Satan and the world : and which spirit, under- 
takes a thing, not from any law compelling, but from a 
Wte good-i^iH. Although it may also be called^ passively^ 
nninificent spirit, which is given of mere grace. 

Thus in these three verses the prophet explains these 
IJtfts, which are given to those who are justified by 
inth. Th^ first, is full assurance, or a sure confidence in 
die mercy of God. The second, is sanctification ; by 
which the old man together w4th his passions is morti- 
6bA, and the new man arises in a new and sanctified 
The third, is a free confession ; by which, 
!r is not willing to yield to sound doctrine, is con- 
dinned, even Kings, Potentates, and Popes, together 
inlh the whole world. The prophet now descends to 
things which follow upon this " principal spirit." 



Then wlU I teach tratisgressors thy ways^ and sin* 
*s sfmU be converted u/Uo thee. 

Here the prophet first begins to speak of his own 
wnrftH,- — ^after his person is justified, and born again by 
the Holy Spirit. For the tree must exist before the 
ffik; M Christ saith, Matt, xii., *' Either malce the 
aWgCKxl and its fruit good." As though he had said, In 
W0k do ye labour at the frnit, unless the tree be first 
fgpod. For the state and pursuit of the pharisees were 
die same as we see at this day in our adversaries, who 
with full mouths Ix^ast of their good works, and are al- 
ttHietber evil themselves. But how can it be, that any 
fr^ d can arise from a bad seed. Thpse, therefore, 

wi I I their hooded cloaks, who fast, pray, and watch^, 

mam nevertheless tJieir old iniquity of heart* As Horace 

The fools who flee beyond the seas 
To taste the joys of mental ease ; 
To bitter disappointment find, — 
They cliange the climate— not the mind ! 

M 2 


So, these deluded ones change their mnnents, their 
diet, and their exercises, but their mind remains die 
same. In true theology, therefore, the first concern is, 
that a man become good by the regeneration of tfae 
Spirit, which Spirit is certain, holy, and animating 
Then it will be, that from the good tree^ good fruits also 
will proceed. 

Hitherto, therefore, David has said nothing aboat 
his own works, and has only pray^ for those things; 
which God is wont to effect by his Word, and by ms 
Spirit. And when he has obtained these, he comes tb> 
his own works which ought to follow upon regeneration; 
Those works are not such as impious Popery exhorts 
unto; — ^to make vows of peregrination, to enter monaste- 
ries, (which work they have called, to the greatest insult 
of Christ, another baptism) but to give £anks unto a 
God so good and so merciful, to extend his gifts, and 
by them to instruct others also unto the same grace. As 
they also did in the Gospel who were healed bv Christ: 
for even when they were forbidden of Christ, they coiald 
not help proclaiming his benefits, praising him, and 
calling others also unto the same hope. 

These are the principal works which testi^, that the 
tree is changed ; that it is made powerfiil fi^om bcang. 
barren, and fiill of sap and flourishing fi'om being diy«. 
Unto this life it is, that Christ also calls his discipt^^ 
when he saith, " Follow me, and let the dead bury ^iair 
dead : " for he signifies, that the works of the dead avft 
a different kind of works, but that those who live k^ 
Christ, ought to be employed in acknowledging aiid 
preaching the mercy of God, that others also may leam 
to acknowledge it. The sum of the whole therefore n 
this : — that our life and salvation are placed wholly ia 
the mercy of God, which mercy God so reveals throng 
his Word, that he commands sinners to hope in it 
through Christ. This knowledge is righteousness ; as 
Isaiah saith, ^ the knowledge of him shall justify many.* 
Here we have no other work to do ; that is, not to refuse 
the offered mercy, but to receive it by faith. But this very 



thmg is the gift of the Holy Spirit, because all have 
191 faith. 

After justificatioDj when the promise of the remis- 
sioD of sins and of eternal life is beheved and possessed 
hjf faith, then the next and continued work is, to give 
dauiks unto God^ and to proclaim these his benefits* 
fiot becaase the world opposes itself with all its force, 
tnd Satan ceases not, to throw various hinderances in our 
»«y, and to drive us away from this preaching* there- 
fore, David prays in the next verse, for that animating 
spirit, ivhich might despise all perils, and, with a boldness 
oir mind, bear a testimony for Christ; as Luke saith con- 
cerning the Apostles, Acts iv. 

Since, therefore, saith David, this Spirit is given 

«Dlo me, I will teach transgressors thy ways* But what, 

O David, if they will not hear thee ! What if the devil 

and the world persecute thee ! Why dost thou wish for 

thyself a work so arduous and difficult as to teach trans- 

gresAors the ways of the Lord ? And what is to become 

of those holy ones ? wilt thou teach them also? Yea 

tmly - — For if you were to put upon those, whom David 

hefc calls ** transgressors/' their outside show and masks, 

to wMch they walk before the world, you would not say 

ihil they were thieves, adulterers, and murderers, but 

^ most wise and most holy of all tlie w orld ; I mean 

tioBf princes, priests, and monks, who are adorned 

wm all the wisdom and sanctity that the human mind, 

itflOQt the Holy Ghost, can attain unto and accomplish. 

Hie whole emphasis is on the pronotm thy: for he con- 

femss, that those whom he calls transgressors, have ways 

m which they walk, and greatly please themselves by 

wilking therein* But (says he) they are not the ways of 

die Lord ; they are human ways, in which they cannot 

l« saved ; therefore I will teach them thy ways. 

Here again he intimates the dangers which await 
fliese teachers. For the world will not suffer their ways 
Id be condemned as error, but defend them as right ways 
iod righteousness. He, therefore, that will be a mt^nk 
tf God^ and not of the Pope, and will enter upon a most 
•rcfe rule of life, and offer his sacritices unto God, he 


it is who goeth the way to teach transgpp&sors. the wajjs 
of the Lord. And it will come to pass, that sucl^ 9Jgk,op0 
will not only raise up against himself the devil wit^ all 
h^U, and the world with these saints, but he ^il\4>^w. 
have to speak against himself, and will learn byexp^rienoet 
what are truly gopd works ; an4 as Christ saitJNi hf^.iVJiJ!). 
" bring forth fruit with patience," Luk? Vfl^. 

In this way understand who are the tran^(^ssoj» ;^ 
not those who are evil before the lyorld only,. b]|it ^^ 
are before the world most holy, as the L^yites, tbo pro-. 
phets, and priests m the time of Da.yid« Tp accu8(B.^^i§8ft 
of sin, and to call them transgressors, nQtwithstandiDK 
their keeping the law of Moses, is a work nu>st ^^ of 
peril. There is, therefore, an emphasis in every word. — 
That David, who had b^n in a Very hell, tliat is^ 
pressed down with the pains of sin and of the wratli cf 
God, but who is now justified through a cpofideiice in 
mercy, goes forth into public to teach all men ia geperal 
concerning the unspeakable mercy of God ; and at ^ 
same time, to conc^emn all the good works and. rig^it^r 
ousnesses which are in the world, that men may.hpp^iig 
the mercy of God only ; and may know that thi^tgifjt 
alone is the true way of salvation, and that wh^teyw la 
apart from this trust, is the way of death and, Qt^coij 

Hiis doctrine never exists without greats cpwpiptiOQy 
for it is neither bearable by Satan nor by^the WiOrUf iPbiff 
latter, cannot bear that all theirs should bo cpn^oniiiec) ; 
and the former, envy men the feligity of l^ng saji:ed,l^ 
sound doctrines. Therefore, hatred, shares, caluqiiue6> 
and reproaches, are directed from all quartets to sup- 
press this doctrine, and these teachers. £vQn as t alia 
have learnt by my own experience. For at first, even bed 
men allowed those abuses to l>e condemned, whiql^-.qould 
not be hid by the church. As for instance, d)^ sh^efiil 
sale of indulgences was so prostituted, that there wei|9 
few who did not with patience bear with my. exposing 
them. But when my exposure went further, and tp 
other things which were not so openly shameful, but yet 
impious, then, the whole body of Satan was put in such 

cttDinotion, that it seemed impossible for me to live any 
wtierein safety. But this did not take place unexpect- 
«lly, for I myself foresaw this commotion : and, among 
edm, the Bishop of Brandenburg, a man of no mean 
repatation, and a particular friend of mine, predicted, 
dlk I shoold make terrible work for mjrself if I touched 
fte Pope also. Thus, by degrees, ' fears within and 
ifjhtmgs without ' were stirred up ; to overcome which 
lerik, there was need, in truth, of the '* principal " or 
te animating spirit, whereby I might be confirmed. 

Bat you may ask why the prophet retains the term 
** tFiiisgressors/' and does not rather call them saints, as 
diey are considered to be before tlie world ? I answer : 
Tbcre are no saints or just men of the world. Therefore, 
Cfm though some have an appearance of sanctity, yet 
Act are called by the Spirit what they are in the sight 
of God, And this very thing goes to confirm the godly. 
For these, because they preach this doctrine concerning 
a trust in the mercy of Ciod, are condemned as heretics ; 
far the enemies of this doctrine, assume to themselv6& 
Ac appellation of the church. The Hoty Spirit, there- 
fMe, confirms the godly, that they might not be terrified 
•td^s show and dignity of the adversaries of the Word, 
bat might know that it is pronounced by the Holy Spi- 
rit, that all who have not this doctrine, how good and 
lioly soever they may be in appearence, are yet in truth 
ongodly and sinners. He now adds, 

And sinners shall be converted unto thee. 

Here another reason is shewn, why this work is 
good and precious in the sight of God. The first rea- 
was, because it is full of peril, and cannot be taken 
khand but by minds first confirmed by a firm and 
irageous spirit. The next is, this work, even with re- 
t to its fruits, is the i^reatest of all works. And there- 
^ although |>erils may drive back, yet usefulness ought 
Id urge for^wd : for it is impossible that the Word of God 
OBI be preached without fruit. And although all be not 
^rted, yet some are ; who, from being sinners, be- 



come believers and are saved. For the event of the mi- 
nistry is placed y not in the will of men, but of God ; as 
Solomon saith, '' The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the 
Lord hath made even both of them ; " that is, both aie 
the gift of God, as are also those who teach soundly, 
and those who obey them that teach. Therrfcune, saim 
David, I will do that which I can do, "I will teach 
transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted 
unto thee : " that is, ^ I will teach how the ungodly are to 
be converted, and will leave the event wiu God, that 
some may be converted. Others seem to teach the 
same thing, when they teach good works, confessions, 
contritions, and self-satisfactions. But these are hu- 
man ways, proceeding from the spirit of the devil ; by 
the performance of which, there is a departing day l^ 
day from thy ways. But I will teach that way by 
which I know that I returned unto thee ; — that after l 
knew my sin ; that is, that my whole nature was cor- 
rupted by sin, I cast myself upon thy mercy, and was 
not unbelieving of the hearing of joy. This is the way 
and this is the manner, in which the ungodly are con- 
verted unto thee, and this way I will teach. He that will 
come, let him come ; and he that will not come, let him 
refuse at his peril.' 

Here, therefore, he intimates, that he desired to 
teach the same things which he before experienced in his 
own person ; that he does not desire to teach sinnefs 
like the Pope, who exhorts to the satisfactions of works ; 
or like the Jews, who propose sacrifices and their tradi- 
tions; but that he desires to teach the whole human 
race, that all human endeavours are damnable in the 
sight of God, if they be undertaken under the idea of at- 
taining unto righteousness ; according to this scriptare 
" there is none good, no not one : there is none that 
doeth good," Rom. iii. By this preaching, reason and 
all human presumption are utterly destroyed. For since 
no one can deny sin, what more awful can be declared, 
than that man has in himself no defence against sin! 

After the wrath of God has been preached in this 
manner, and man has been slain as a sacrifice unto God, 


tfaeii follows the hearing of joy, " Thou shalt not die." 
For God does not desire to be wrath with sinners thus 
Mcriiiced, but wills to save them, because he sent his 
Son to take away the sins of the world. This is the true 
doctrine, this is the true worship, whereby the ungodly 
converted. Others, who advise the sinner, when 
fessing his lusts or his uncleanness, to afflict his body, 
to go into a monastery and there live in celibacy, do 
BOChin^^ else but convert the man from the idol of Venus 
mod lead him away to the idol of ** dbomination/' and 
increase his damnatiou. This is to run from Scylla down 
into Charybdis, and from the shower into the sea; 
whereby, when one evil is driven out, seven others 
eoler in ; as Christ saith concerning the devil which 
vent out of the man. 

This is the first sacrifice which David, when justi- 
fied, wishes to render unto Godi^that he may teach 
Miners the ways of tlie Lord ; that is, may teacti them, 
that the way of returning unto God is, first, to acknow- 
iiMlge and believe, that whatever man does without the 
Holy Spirit is altogether sin, if it be done with an idea 
thai it is righteousness, because, the person is uniler 
iin; that thus, the sinner may first of all be bruised and 
thrin in ttie sight of God. And then teach tbem, that 
God IS such, that his vvili is, to pardon freely for Christ's 
tike« For there is no such God any where m ho wills to 
rBceive a sinner on account of the order of the Minorites, 
or on account of [)eregrinations, masses, alms, &c. Such 
aGod| is merely imagined without the Word. Those, 
V fore, who are thus converted, are converted unto 
iol of their own heart, but they are not converted 
imto God. For he is the one and true God, who loves 
the contrite in heart, and who is *' well pleased with 
cbem that fear him,'' and hope in him. It is necessary 
iberefoie, if thou wouldst be converted, thnt thou 
sbooldst be terrified or killed; that is, that thou sliouldst 
htL^e a fearful and trembling conscience. W hen tlitm iiast 
thi»^ tlien thou oughtest to receive the consolation, not 
any work of thine own, but from the work of God, 


who therefore sent his Son Jesus Christ into this worid, 
that he might preach the consolation of free mercy to 
terrified sinners. This is the way of converting ; other 
ways are the ways of error. And this, saith the pro- 
phet, shall be my service in which I will render thasks 
unto thee. 

But thou wilt say, does not the new life pertain unto 
regeneration ? Certainly. But even as there are no fhuts 
before there is a tree, so, works cannot be gpod, unless 
the person be first righteous, and good. Tberefoiei life 
eternal, or grace, does not come by the merit of works ; 
but those who are already justified and heirs of eternal 
life through Christ, whose merit they receive by fei^ 
do good works, not to the end that they may attam 
unto eternal life, which they rightfully have already 
through the merit of another, that is of Christ, but that 
they may be grateful and obedient to the divine voice, 
that the glory of God, together with holy doctrine and 
life, may be promoted. 'Hiis order of motives the ad^ 
versaries understand not, but pervert it. Therefore, there 
is a necessity, that there should be Davids who may 
spread abroad this doctrine, not among those only who 
are without grace, but among those also who are within 
grace. For these, as they leel terrors and infirmities, 
drink in this doctrine with great avidity. And althon^ 
others who are without grace, for the most part perse- 
cute this doctrine, yet, mis preaching is not altogether 
without fruit. And therefore, the Spirit, as it is a matta 
of the utmost moment, urges the dissemination of this 
doctrine as widely as possible. And here we must ob- 
serve, that, as those whom David calls transgressors and 
ungodly, appear before the world to be most holy ; so, 
this conversion is judged by the world to be heresy and 
seduction ; as I find by my own experience. The judg- 
ment, however, of the Iloly Spirit consoles us, who caUs 
it, not heresy, but conversion. 


V£R$£ 14. 

^Deiiver mc from bhodgiulihiess^ O Gml^ thou God 
rf mjf salvation ; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy 

Ttiis verse h somewhat obscure, and seems to inter- 
rti' * '*- order which I have set forth, but I hope I shall 
l/t. cH to explain the whole. As to the grammatical 

part, then, * blood/ signifies the guilt of blood, or the crime 
of bloodslied. Some, therefore, by the figure synecdoche, 
ufiderstand apart for the whole, and consider ' blood/ to 
^igoi^ all sins whereby we deserve blood or death; and 
tbal David does not only confess the murder of Uriah, 
%od adultery, and seek mercy on account of them, but 
m general for all his sins. 

But here it will be objected, that he has prayed on 
account of all bis sins before, and has also obtained 
patdoo. How then will the order stand good, if he now 
agoun pray for that which he has already obtained ? I 
.ilDSwer : He professed that he would teacla transgressors 
the way of the Lord. Now, it is not only difficult, but a 
work full of ignominy, to teach others, and yet to bear 
the reproach of a publicly committed sin ; as it is said 
10 this verse, 

The teacher, whose own faults himself condemn, 
Has need to hide his head. 

As therefore David before prayed for, and obtained, 
the remission of all his sins before God ; so now, he 
prays for the remission of all his sins before the church, 
that the church may know, that he is pardoned before 
God, lest the doctrine, which he determined to preach, 
ibuulci be hindered. So also are tlie sacraments among 
as. w hich we also use for this endj that the whole church 
loay koow, that we acknowledge our sin, and belitivc that 
It ts all forgiven us for Christ's fjake. Wherefore, with 
<i- 'r rence to the judgment of others, 1 understand 
lij c concerning outward absi/lution before the 

diurcb, — that God would so take away blood j that is. 



guilt, that those may no longer be offended whose eyes 
and ears had been offended by the sins of Davi(]. For 
M'ho does not see, how disgraceful it is in a. teacher, that 
he should be guilty of adidtery and murder? 

He prays, therefore, ' O Lord, deliver me from that 
crime which the priests have it in their power to object 
unto me. I have sinned against thee : I have sinned 
against Moses, or thy law : and thou hast now pardoned 
my sin : because, thou hast filled my mind and heart 
with a trust in thy mercy, through the hearing of joy. 
Grant also that I may be delivered before the church, 
that the course of thy Word be not hindered,' &c. For 
he seems to speak of the private sin, that is, the murder 
of Uriah and adultery, and it may certainly be under- 
stood as an example of private sin: but, as I said before, 
it is a part for the whole, finite for infinite. He prays 
that God would take away all the sin and the guut, 
whereby he might, as a preacher, be confounded before 
the. church; in order that, those who knew his sins, 
might no longer be offended at the sins which their 
teacher had committed, but might even be the more 
confirmed. Thus Paul, 1 Tim. i. relates that he was a 
blasphemer and a persecutor of the church. That re- 
lation not only does not offend his hearers, but evei^ 
confirms them the more, and consoles them, when they 
know that those sins are forgiven him of God ; for they 
themselves also are encouraged to the like hope of we 
remission of sins. For Paul saith, it was the will of 
God to set this forth before the church as an example 
of divine mercy. 

In the same way, also, it is not unbecoming in me^ 
nor does it take away from the power of my doctrine, 
that I confess that I also was among the monsters 
of the Pope, that I was made a monk, and that, both 
by my masses and by my whole course of life, I not 
only denied, but crucified afresh, Christ my Redeemer. 
For I lived wholly in that confidence in my own 
righteousness, that if any one had then taught those 
things, which, by the grace of God, I now teach^ and 
believe, I think I could have torn him to pieces with 


i«y teellu But it is now more sweet for the church tc 
! \m, that the I^ord ileHvercd me from all those blas- 
[jtemies, and made me a faithful preaclier of his Word] 
i iml fighteoasness- 

In the same way, also, David prays to be delivered I 
'fam ** blood-guiltiness;" that is, to be delivered from J 
b^ilt before the church also; that, as he has been] 
ptfooned of God, so also he may be itelivered from the 
itf, and might freely lift up his face before the cliurch. 
EfCD as I also have learnt in my own experience, thati 
I crucified Christ, both in my order and before niy^ 
Older. This confession of sin, does not cause the Word ^ 
to be despised, but increases in the hearers a trust in 
»crcy, and is also well pleasing unto Christ, And 
therefore the prophet adds— 

Ami my tongue shall sing aloud of thy lighieousness. 

This refers to the preaching of die Word. As 
though he had said, When I shall be thus absolved 
before the world, and shall be justified befijre thee and 
bcfoie men, then shall my tongue sing aloud ; that is, 
ifeclare and preach with joy thy righteousness; that 
iit thy grace, whereby thou pardonest sins, and hast 

Moreover, tliis term ** righteousness/' cost me much 
Uxiiir. For lliey used generally to explain it thus i— 
tint righteousness, signifieth diat trutli, whereby God 
coodctDtis according to desert, or judges the undeserv- 
iig. And they set righteousness in opposition to that 
Hienry, Hhereby those who believe are saved. This ex- 
pottiian is most perilous ; and in addition to its being 
WBin, it raises a secret hatred against God and his 
i^iteausness. For who can love him, who will deal with 
inoers according to righteousness? Wherefore, remem- 
ber}^ that the righteousness of God is that, by which 
•c are justified, or receive the remission of sins. Tliis 
Q^teousness in God is sweet; for it makes God, not 
tjust judge, but a pardoning Father; who desires to 
Bie this righteousness, not to judge, but to justify and 




pardon sinners. This thy nghteousness, saith David, 
not the righteousness of men, or of Moses, I will preach 
with joy and gladness, even if I am to have all men my 
enemies. Do thou only do this : — absolve me before 
the church, that I may go 'forth in public without shkme, 
and may not blush on account of my sins, which are 
known also unto the church. — It is an illustritms ex- 
ample for the consolation of those, who are in the 
ministry of the Word, and yet are reprehensible on ac- 
count of their past actions : for I have said that her^ 
also, as in a general doctrine, the part is put for the 

VERSE 15. 

O Lord, open thou my lipSj and my mouth shaU 
shew forth thy praise. 

In the canonical services it is appointed, withgteat 
wisdom perhaps, that they should begin with this verse. 
And with respect to the public confession, and pauses 
of God in the church, it is used well. But in piivaW 
prayers, there is less need for this commencement ; be^ 
cause there, there is no danger to be feared from tynuitBr 
And here also, the prophet does not treat. of a pritste 
intercourse between the sinner and God, but he is 
speaking of the whole church, of the ministry waA 
ministers, and of the whole people of God. For thqf 
who are already justified, have nothing else to do bat to 
say with David, " I believed, and therefore have I 
spoken." And, " Come ye, and behold the works of 
the Lord." And again, ^^ I will declare thy name unto 
my brethren." The prophet intends the same in this 
place also. Now that he is justi6ed before God throng 
free mercy, which he apprehends, by faith, and is also 
absolved from his guilt before the church, so that his 
past sins are no longer an offence, but a consolation to 
the church ; he prays, that the Lord would open hsA 
lips, that he might preach the mercy of God freely, and 
without fear, in public, and not in a comer, as the 
fanatics do. 

By his entreating of the Lord that his '' lips" may be 


^e signifies, how arduous a work this sacrifice 
^ is, which he requires in the 50th Psaim, For 
it is a boldness above aU boldness, a courage above all 
courage, and a fortitude above all fortitude, to dare to 
speak in public, and to confess the name of the Lord. 
For here is Satan with every kind of snare, that he 
may hinder this confession : and if all these snares could 
be %een widi the human eye, it would soon appear, why 
the prophet prayed before to be confirmed by the Spirit, 
aod now desires that his lips might be opened l>y the 
Lord himself; — not to pray over the canonical prayers, 
bat to bear the name of the Lord before the devil, the 

Kd, kings, princes, and all flesh. For here there are 
_ y things to shut the lips. Sometimes the fear of 

perils, sometimes the hope of gain, and often the advice 
of friends, interpose, by which Satan strives to hinder 
this sacrifice. This 1 have often found by experi- 
ence ; and yet, the Lord was present, and in all great 
causes where the glory of God was at stake, God was 
preaent, and opened ray mouth in the face of all 
tbese obstacles. 

Here, therefore, he teaches concerning the public 
oocifession and preaching of him who is now justified ; 
lliaL we may learn, how hard a thing it is to dare to 
ipeak what you have experienced. For not only Satan, 
bot the tyranny of princes and kings, nay our own sins 
iod flef^h will hinder this confession. Yet, on the other 
iMidf the Spirit urges us on, as Peter saith, Acts iv. 
** We cannot but speak the things which we have heard 
and seen/* Tliis Spirit, prays with many groans this 
{■ajer before God ; — * that he would open our lips to 
ibrvr forth his praise/ 

And here I would have you reme|nber, that where- 
fver these expressions occur in the Floly Scriptures, — 
iDslwH' forth the praises of God^ his rightet>usness, &c. 
peat perils are also signified. For, for a man to speak 
ihe praises of God, is to expose himself to the devii, to 
" world, to the flesh, and to all evils. For how wilt 
praise God without first tjringing in guilty, and 



condemning the whole world) with all its righteousnesses? 
And whoever does this, brings upon himself, not hatred 
only, but open perils. On the contrary, those who teach 
orders, invocations of saints, merits, fraternities, and the 
like, praise not God, but themselves ; and dierefore, 
they are easily tolerated and received by the world. 
Hence, the prophet saith, " O Lord, open thou my 
lips," and grant, that I may with confidence call unto, 
teach, and instruct others in that which I myself have 
learnt : — that thou alone art worthy to be praised and 
glorified for ever, who freely justifiest the ungodly, Sec. 

Here you find who that justified person is, and 
what works he especially chooses ; not fasting, not ab- 
stinence, not the hair-cloth garment of John, not a 
desert, &c. which yet are a something ; but if you com- 
pare this most exalted service with the preaching of the 
name of the I^ord, it is a game and a jest, not only in 
those bug-bears of the Pope, but even in the saints them- 
selves. For John was not so great a person merely be- 
cause he clothed himself in skins, and drank not wine or 
strong drink ; but because he was filled with the Spirit,^ 
and dared to call the pharisees a " generation of vipers;" 
because he dared say to the tyrant, ^' It is not lawful for 
thee to have thy brother's wife ; " and because he dared 
bear this testimony for Christ before the whole people, 
and in the midst of his despisers, " There cometh one 
mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I 
aih not worthy to unloose." These are the things that 
exalt John, and make him the greatest " of them that 
are bom of women." The desert, the skins, the mea^ 
and the drink, any bad man may imitate, and that witl\- 
out peril ; but the office of teaching, no one can under- 
take without peril. And indeed it is manifest, what 
kind of a reward John obtained for it, when he was so 
basely beheaded by the will of a woman. Those, there- 
fore, who would undertiike a great work, and a worfc 
worthy of a Christian man, let them not praise the 
fooleries of the Pope, nor the private exercises and af- 
flictions of the saints, but let them praise this ; — con- 


downri^t heresy. And before we explain this, we may 
observe, if the Holy Spirit Jn David condemns thesacri- 
fio05 commanded of God, with what face will the Monks 
dare to bonst of their hooded cloaks and orders, their 
▼oars and shaven pates, as holiness ! With wh*rt face 
will the Popes dare to attribute any righteousness to 
their treditions, when all these are inM:ituted without the 
wofd of GxkJ ! Wherefore, receive this verse as directed 
out only against the law, but against the whole of Po- 
prty^ together with all its traditions, rites, and foroas of 
voTBhip; — that they are displeasing in the sight of God. 
A?, therefore, David comes to this especial point, 
croddemns the highest worship of the law which was 
ted of God, he makes thereby a most manifest 
ion between all the religions in the world, even 
that which was instituted by Moses and coiximanded of 
God, and separates from all these relii^ions, this one 
which ts by fiiith in Christ; whereby sins are remitted 
and righteousness and eternal life are given %vithoiit works 
aad without merits, only because God is merciful and 
fiidcmeth through Christ. This religion teaches, that 
works and forms of wnrshif) are not to be instituted with 
a WW to [>leasing God thereby ; that sin cannot be 
atmied for liy any sacrifices, nor by any moral rules, nor 
ky any human work whatever ; that works are indeed 
ami ami holy, and please God ; hut that, if they l>e 
«ie for any otlier motive than because they are com- 
OHUided of God, God is not only not appeased by them, 
ofiended. For if hurnt-ofiferiogs do not please 
-. , *.hal folly is it to presume upon those things \vhich 
aa choose to ourselves, without the word of Godi 
Therefore David saith, Psalm L, * I will take no 
Mloek not of thy house, for every beast of the forest is 
mine. The world is mine and the fulness thereof/ As 
gh he had said, ' In vain do ye think to appease me 
yotir works, for it is all by my gift that ye have 
very soul, your senses, and your whole Hfe, If there- 
I had necti of those things uhich ye have, or which 
an d»i, I j^hould not give tliem unto you. For whence 
*)e^ tVw Monk derive his fasting, his praying^, and hk 

K 2 



VERSE 17. 

tbr thou desirest not sacrifice j eke would I give it 
thee; thou delightest not in burnt offerings. 

This is the reason why he desires to shew fordi Ae 
pndses of the Lord. — Because, says he, slicrificeB do not 
please thee. But is not this the voice ef a heretic, to wf . 
while the whole law and the whole woiship of God were 
standing, "Thou desirest not sacrifice:" "Thou de- 
lightest not in burnt-offerings?" I for my part hove 
often wondered at this audacity of the prophets, who 
spoke with such contempt of the sacrifices, conttaiy to 
the law of Moses and the worship of their people. Ftt 
if the Pope could have proved his rites and ceretriomies 
from the word of God, as the Jews could prove their sa- 
crifices, I certainly never should have dared to open my 
tnouth against him ! But now, since he has ordahied 
and commanded these things without, yea, afflinst the 
Word, I condemn him with all authority. But how 
much less is this victory of mine over the church and 
ceremonies of the Pope, than that of the prophets who 
thus opposed the sacrifices of the law ? For the priests 
were not without the scriptures on their^ide, as the Pope 
is. Because the Pope has nothing whatever whereby to 
defend himself and his traditions, but the empty title ^ 
church : but those under the law, knew that the sacri- 
fices were commanded of God. 

Here, therefore, David seems to speak plajniy 
against the scripture and Moses, because he has a mstti- 
fest testimony, that these ceremonies were enjoined Ae 
people, according to the will of God. For it is widl 
known, with what care all thihgs, which belonged to ike 
tabernacle and the sacred rites, are commanded in 
Exodus, Leviticufe, and Numbers. The examples (rf* the 
patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, &c. are also well known, 
who all testified their gratitude by sacrifices. To say so 
plainly therefore, contrary to the express command of 
God, and contrary to the examples of all the saintSy 
" Thou desirest not sacrifice," has the appearance of 


downright heresy. And before we explain this, we may 

observe, if the Halj Spirit. in David condemns the sacri- 

fioes commanded of God, with what face will the Monks 

ilare to boast of their hooded cloaks and orders, their 

iron^s and shaven pates, as holiness I With what face 

will the Popes dare to attribute any righteousness to 

sr Iraditions, when all these are instituted without the 

of God ! Wherefore, receive this verse as directed 

only against the law, but against the whole of Po- 

/, together with all its traditions, rites, and forms of 

orship; — that they are displeasing in the sight of God, 

As, therefore, David comes to this especial pointy 

Dd condemns the highest worship of the law which was 

ted of God, he makes thereby a most manifest 

lion between all the religions in the world, even 

ihat which was instituted by Moses and commanded of 

God, and separates from all these religions, this one 

which is by f;jth in Christ ; whereby sins are remitted 

and righteoasness and eternal life are given without works 

$md uithout merits, only l>ecause God is merciful and 

pardoneth through Christ. This religion teaches, that 

Vforks anti forms of worshi[) are not to be instituted with 

a viemr to pleasing God thereby; that sin cannot be 

iloiied for by any sacrifices, nor by any moral rules, nor 

^ any human work whatever; that works are indeed 

TjDod and holy, and please God ; imt that, if they be 

done tor any otlier motive than because they are com- 

anndad of ^od, God is not only not appeased by them, 

^mt i* offended. For if hurnt-offerings do not please 

htm, u liat folly is it to presume upon those things which 

we choose to ourselves, without the word of Godi 

Therefore David saith, Psalm I, * I will take no 

biUock out of thy house, for every beast of the forest is 

anne. The world is mine and the fulness thereof,' As 

gh he had said, ' In vain do ye think to appease irie 

your works, for it is all by my gift that ye have 

fmr verv soul, your senses, and your whole life. If there- 

I had need of those things which ye have, or wiiich 

do, I should not give them unto you. For vyhence 

the Monk derive his fasting, his praying, and hit 

N fi 


other will- works but from, this, — my giving him thawiU 
and the power to do them ? If then I give these things 
why dost thou return them to me as Uiough I wanted 
and stood in need of them/ Wherefore, all that we 
have left to do towards God, is, to give him thanks. 
For whatever we are, or live, or have, are the gifts of 
God : as it is said also, Rom. xi., ^^ Who hath first 
given to him ?" When therefore we do all that we can, 
we do nothing more than return that which we have re- 
ceived :— *and what mighty thing is there in doing that;? 
Here the justiciaries answer, * We want to deserve 
something, and to maintain the Freedom of the Will.' — 
This is to render unto God, not his own, but, as it were, 
our own. But even reason will prove this to be impie^ 
and folly ; — ^for a man to pretend that he does any tbiqg 
^eat, who is liberal in that which is not his own, bat 
which belongs to another. Wherefore, what we should 
do is this; — return glory to God by acknowledging that 
whatever we have, or can do, is all from his free goodr 
ness, because it is he who confirms us by his Spirit, who 
opens our mouth, and fills it with his praise, &c. 

. This passage goes, therefore, not only to console 
and teach us, but also to refute our adversaries. For 
when we produce this passage of Paul to prove what 
righteousness is, that '' a man is justified without the 
works of the law," they cavil at it, by saying, that the cere- A 
monial, not moral works, are to be there understood. Eves i 
as Sadoletus does in his Commentary on the Romaw; j 
wherein, he so twists and turns this passage of Paul, 
that he not only does not arrive at Paul's meaning, but 
is no where consistent with himself. In this way the ad- 
versaries of our doctrine make it manifest, that th^ are 
altogether ignorant of the holy scripture, and cannot . 
even attain to the knowledge of the simple point, what 
the ceremonial laws or ceremonial works are. For when 
they expound Paul thus : — we are justified without the 
works of the law, that is, without the ceremonies, because 
the ceremonies are abolished ; this is nothing more or 
less than proving, that those ceremonies were aboli^ed 
ev'en in the time of Moses, and that it was a matter of 


optioD to be circumcised or not to be circumcised, to 
or not to sacrifice, because, even in the time of 
, these things justified not, as is manifest from the 
t passage. But who can have patience to hear a 
iogian say this? For if these ceremonials are not 
unto righteousness now, because they are 
abolished, what shall we say when we go back to the 
times of David, when they were not yet abolished, but 
»cre considered as most exalted, and holy works and 
accessary ? Did they justify then ? By no means : for 
we have this Word, " Thou desirest not sacrifice ! " 

Moreover, it is not right to take so much from 
ceremonies : for the command of God concerning the 
S^i^' -'m is a ceremonial, and yet, it is placed in the 
£r . before and al)ove all moral works* There- 

fore, It is a cavillation unbecoming a theologian, nay, 
osbecoming a man of common education, to think, 
whcD Paul speaks of the works of the law, that he 
tpeaks of the ceremonials merely as works of an order 
inferior to that of moral works. Look at the times of the 
Old Testament, and you will find, that there was not 
only a great necessity for, but a great dignity in, cere- 
Booials. For although ceremonials are now either 
gp&onai or abolished, yet, under the law, they were not 
fijleebut necessary ; and yet it %vas true, even then, that 
i man was justified ** without the works of the law." 
Wlierefore, Paul speaks plainly of the whole law ; that - 
is, of ceremonial work as well as moral ; — that righteous- 
lee is not given by them ; but that the only righteous- 
fics? is, to apprehend mercy ; which mercy is, that 
S imputes not sin, hut pardons those who believe 
in u urist* This is the truth which Paul defends in his 
Epistle to the Romans, which, whosoever does not 
mclerstand to be the main point of all his arguments, 
cannot see the least shadow of the real mind of Paul, 

It is this same truth that David sets forth in the 

1 passage, wJien, in his own time, w^hile sacrifices 

the temple were in their greatest glory, before the 

of the New Testament, he saith, in the plainest 


terms, that sacrifices are nothing, and that God does 
not regard them. This is plainly to take away the whole 
legal worship, though commatlded and instituted of God 
as it ought to be. And although the dignity of cere- 
monies is not to be spoken lightly of, (for we see from 
the command and Word of God that they were not only 
approved, but even instituted and ordained), yet David 
saith, ^^ Thou desirest them not." Also, Isaiah i. ** I am 
full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and of the fat of fed 
beasts." And again, in the preceding Psalm, " I will 
not reprove thee for thy sacrifices, ftc." Sermons of 
this sort were, without doubt, condemned by the priests 
as heretical, and the prophets themselves were slain 
because of them. 

But we must also shew the reason why the prophets 
in this manner condemned those sacrifices which were 
the highest worship of God under the law; for the 
matter seems to carry with it a peculiar difficulty ; be- 
cause, those things are condemned by the prophets 
which were commanded by a divine voice. But tfie 
sermons of thd prophets, which are of this nature, are 
not so to be understood as though the rites and cere- 
monies themselves were condemned ; the prophets lobtc 
most at the motives from which those ceremonies were 
performed by the ungodly. Because the end of those 
legal sacrifices and forms of worship, was not, that by 
them men might be justified and might please God. 
This end was, from the sin of Adam, reserved unto the 
one sacrifice of Christ ; of which the sacrifices of the 
law were a shadow. For in liddition to God's willing, 
that by this worship of sacrifices, his people should be 
distinguished from all other nations, and their obedience 
should be testified thereby, the sacrifices were signs of 
the future sacrifice of Chrijit ; whereby the i>eople were 
reminded of the redemption to come. 

Whereas, the greatest part of the Jews, being thus 
corrupted by their priests, performed the sacrifices with 
this opinion : — that by them they should obtain the re- 
mission of sins. But this was making the blood of a 


haU eqaal to the blood of Christ, and the sacrifice of a 
brule equal to the sacrifice of the Son of Qod. It was 
oa account of this iniquity, which false opinions con- 
cerning the legal sacrifices tended to confirm, that the 
pr- '^ *- inveighed so severely against sacrifices,* not 


i>ect to their formal object, but with respect to 

linal object. Because, the sacred rites were for the 

t part performed in a place appointed of God, and 

ording to the command of God ; so that, nodiing 

eoold >>e censured as to the tbnn, but it was the final 

object that was diabohcal* 

Thus we also condemn the masses of our adversaries^ 
not because it is simply evil in itself to use the Lord*s 
Sr— r, for we also use it religiously, but because they 
9^ ir impious opinions concerning the work itself 

(9pere meraio)^ and its efficacy for the living and 
Che dead, &c. So also in baptism, Me give nothing 
to the work itself, but we say, that faith is required 
whereby the grace which is offered in baptism may be 
mawteA. And a^ David had his adversaria, who set 
themselves against him on account of this doctrine, so we 
tbo are compelled to l)ear the calumnies^ the hatred^ 
Hm excommunications, and other persecutions of adver- 
MEies on account of this doctrine. 

Let therefore our theology upon this point remain 
finn and established ; whereby we teach, that^ in the 
■utter of justification, when we are to raise up con- 
8C]«:]ices and to speak of taking away sins, neither cere* 
nonials nor morals are of any avail ; because they were 
won instituted to the end that righteousness might 
by them. As Paul saith in general, There is no 
^ven which can give life ; and therefore, righteous- 
cannot be by the law, Gal. iii. Here mercy alone 
isnils, which God sets forth in the sacrifice of Christ; 
Hid ikith, whereby that mercy, or that sacrifice of Christ, 
_ ii agprehended. The ceremonies, therefore, both among 
^Bi and under the law , were holy and excellent, but in 
^Fiieir place. So also moral works are good, but in their 
I pbee. But in the matter of justification, they are not 


only useless, but altogether nothing ; because this matter 
belongs to the sacrifice of Christ : in comparison of the 
dignity of this, all the ceremonies of the law, all moral 
works, are nothing. 

Thus also political righteousness, is, in its place^ a 
most sweet and excellent thing ; in order that peace and 
mutual concord may subsist among men. But if thou 
wouldst wish to be righteous before God, because thou 
art a good citizen, a chaste husband, a just tradesman, &c. 
then, thou makest of a most sweet thing, an abomina- 
tion which God cannot endure. Wherefore, let us first 
hold it fast that we are righteous, and remain heirs of 
eternal life, only by the mercy of God ; and afterwards, 
let us testify our obedience in a holy and blameless life ; 
which pertains, not unto our own righteousness, bat 
unto the exercise of our graces, and unto that obedience 
which we owe to our God, as children in the house of 
our Father. Then it will come to pass, that as the 
sacrifices under the law were unto God a sweet-smelling 
savour, on account of the dependance of the persons on 
the mercy by which their person was justified ; so also 
our obedience and holy works will please God on account 

• of our faith in Christ, as being in their proper place,— 
because they are not done for the attainment of righte- 
ousness, but as a testimony that we are grateful for 

'being justified freely. For the tree must first be good, 
' before any thing good can proceed from it ; as David 

* afterwards with emphasis saith, " Then shalt thou be 
pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness ; " that is, 
when the walls of Jerusalem shall have been first built 
m this way. So also Samuel saith unto Saul, "And 

~ the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee," and thou 
- shalt be turned into another man, — and then what- 
^ soever cometh into thine hand, do it," 1 Sam. x. Here 
he sets before him, not one work only, but sends him, 
. when changed by the Spirit, into the middle of a multi- 
tude of works; because he is now made another man, 
and therefore other works follow. 

This theology our adversaries do not understand, 

bat reverse the matter, and will and teach, that men 

dioold go on working until they are changed and become 

other men. Whereas, the man or the person must first 

be changed in the manner which the order of this Psalm 

sea forth ; and aftenvarcls it w ill come to pass, that all 

duogs will be done rightly, w hether thou be circumcised, 

or sacrifice, or wash as under the law ; or whether thou 

be without the law in the work of thy calling, or eat, or 

drink, or become a husband, Sec. IJ'or all things please 

God, because the i>erson now pleases liim ; not indeed 

on account of itself, but on account of the sacrifice of 

Christ, and the mercy which is apprehended by faith, 

^. ilere^ therefore, ts seen the reason why David con- 

■I^Btns the sacrifices : — on account of the matter of 

^fclification, or the final object. For this object destroys 

not only ceremonial, but moral works, if it be not right. 

Wherefore, all the cavillations of the ignorant in spiritual 

things^ are directed to interpret the works of the law^ in 

Vmil^ as signifying the ceremonial works. But the 

OCTCTnonies under the law, were as holy and as neces- 

my, as moral w orks are holy and necessary under the 

New Testament, as tlie third precept concerning the 

Stiibath plainly shews ; which, although ceremonial, is 

piteed belbre all momls. And even as we at this day 

aie boand unto all public and domestic laws, and unto 

the law of brotherly love, so were they bound unto 

eefemonies. To say, therefore, that ceremonies are now 

dead and abolished, is nothing at all; for then they 

were not dead, and yet they did not jostify ; even as 

]fiara)5, or politicals, or that wliich belongs to the deca- 

logoe, does not justity us. It was necessary to make 

Aise remarks, on account of the calumnies with which 

«?en learned men load us. — I now return to the 


It is, then, a matter most full of consolation^ that 
God will not have sacrifice?^, but that he condemns and 
lejects even this exalted worship, because it may he done 
^ith a view to turn away the wrath of Ctod, and that 
^e might be thereby justified. Whereas, here is com- 
mended to us the mercy of (iod, freely forgiving our 

sins and justifying as. For those who seek righteonsiiess 
hy their own works, do nothing else but endeavour to 
i>ecome their owix makers or creators, ccmtrary to that 
scripture, ^Mt is he that hath made us, and not we our*- 
sclves." For the first creation is when we are bom iato 
this world, but it is not our creation, it is the creation of 
God — and shall the second creation be ours, wherebj 
we are bom into eternal life ? Therefore, it is not only 
a false but an impious opinion, to imagine, that (Grod 
can be so appeased by our works, as to give us life etar- 
nal, or righteousness for them. And if he Bill not allow 
those works which he has himself commanded, to be 
done to this end, but rejects them, how much less will 
he accept those works which are of our own dioosins; 
and which are done under an absurd superstition, witt- 
out the command of God ? 

Wherefore this sentence must be carefully marked, 
wherein he speaks against Moses, against the law, and 
against all works and religions. — '^ Thou desirest not 
sacrifice:" that is, that the righteousness which is by fiudi 
of Jesus Christ might be established. But this sentence 
does not seem to fight so much against the law, u 
against our own hearts. For we are all in that state by 
nature, that we want to be able to bring something unto 
God whereby he may be appeased; and we cannot 
with all our heart safely trust ourselves entirely to his 
mercy. Hence, under our evil deeds we are ever in 
des|)eration, and under our good deeds in presumption. 
But why do we presume upon those things which we 
receive from another, and which we do not possess as 
our own ? For even our very confession, and our giving 
of thanks, are j>ifts which we receive elsewhere— how 
much more then must those be gifts for which we ff^n 
thanks ! In vain, therefore, is reconciliation attempted 
by works. — What then does God desire if he does not 
desire sacrifices ? — 


VERSE 18. 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken 
and contrite hearty O Godj thou wilt not despise. 

This passage is worthy of being %vritten in letters 
of gold. For here you see what a sacrifice he sets forth, 
ID opposition to all the sacrifices of the law and of the 
whole worid. But because the sacrificfe is not without the 
liriest, therefore he casts away the priesthood of the law 
abo, and institutes a new priesthood with new sacri- 
fins. First of all, then, let us here make the distinc- 
Ikm ; — that there are two priesthoods ; the one which 
God rejects, the other which he approves. The priest- 
hood which he reprobates, is that which has bumt- 
ttcrifioes and other sacrifices instituted under the law. 
Ihe priesthood which he approves, is that under which 
anoflfered, not beasts, but contrite and humbled hearts. 
We must observe this distinction at the outset, and be- 
Eeve, that it Is not made by David, but by the Holy 
Gliost himself. For it will presently be made to appear, 
that no greater consolation can be enjoyed, than thy 
knowing, that it is declared by God himself, that he de- 
ares not the blood of bulls nor any other works of our 
oiTD ; according to that word, " In vain do they worship 
■e with the commandments of men ; " and that, divine 
acriiices, and those which are pleasing unto God, are a 
bioken spirit and a contrite heart. Matt. xv. Isa. xxix. 

Secondly : there is not only here made that distinc- 

1km between the priesthood and sacrifices which is so 

iitxderable to the Jews, but there is also set forth so 

Uessed and sweet a representation of God, that you can 

Ml find one more so any where. Men describe God, 

ipccolatively, by certain similitudes ; — that Ci od is the 

eentie^whicn is every where, and the sphere which is no 

vhere.' But all this is mathematical and physical, which 

we leave to other professors. We are seeking the theolo- 

SJcal definition : that is, not a definition of the divine 

essence, which is incomprehensible, but of his will and 

affection, — what pleases him and what docs not please 

sins and justifying as. For thosq who seek ri^teoesness 
hy their own works, do nothing else but endeavour to 
become their owtx makers or creators, contraiy to that 
scripture, ^^ It is he that hath made us, and not we our*- 
selves." For the first creation is when we are bora iBto 
this world, but it is not our creation, it is the cveatioa of 
God — and shall the second creation be ours, wberebj 
we are born into eternal life ? Therefore, it is not only 
afiedse but an impious opinioD, to imagine, thatfGrod 
can be so appeased by our works, as to give us life ete»> 
nal, or righteousness for them. And if he will not allow 
those works which he has himself commanded, to be 
done to this end, but rejects them, how much lets will 
he accept those works which are of our own dioosinff; 
and which are done under an absurd superstition, wim- 
out the command of God? 

Wherefore this sentence must be carefully markai, 
wherein he speaks ag^nst Moses, against the law, and 
against all works and religions. — '^ Thou desirest not 
sacrifice :" that is, that the righteousness which is by fiuth 
of Jesus Christ might be established. But this sentence 
does not seem to fight so much against the law, as 
against our own hearts. For we are all in that state by 
nature, that we want to be able to bring something unto 
God whereby he may be appeased; and we cannot 
with all our heart safely trust ourselves entirely to bb 
mercy. Hence, under our evil deeds we are ever in 
desperation, and under our good deeds in presumptioii. 
But why do we presume upon those things which we 
receive from another, and which we do not possess as 
our own ? For even our very confession, and our giving 
of thanks, are j>ifts which we receive elsewhere — how 
much more then must those be gifts for which we give 
thanks ! In vain, therefore, is reconciliation attempted 
by works. — What then does God desire if he does not 
desire sacrifices ?-— 


VERSE 18. 

77 jke^ofGodart a broken spirit ; a broken 

c^ ... ,-v Aeartf O God^ thou wilt not despise. 

This passfige is worthy of being ^\Titten in letters 
of gold. For here you see what a sacrifice he sets forth, 
ID opposition to all the sacrifices of the law and of the 

>le world. But because the sacrifice is not without the 
t, therefore he casts away the priesthood of the law 
and mstitutes a new priesthood with new sacri- 
First of all, then, let us here make the distinc- 
tion ; — ^that there are two priesthoods ; the one which 
God rejects, the other which he approves. The priest- 
bood which he reprobates, is that which has bumt- 
Micrilioes and other sacrifices instituted under the law. 
The priesthood which be approves, is that uoder which 
ureutfered, not beasts, but contrite and humbleil hearts. 
We must observe this distinction at the outset, and be- 
lieve, that it !s not made by David, but by the Holy 
Gbosi himself. For it will presently be maile to appear, 
that no greater consolation can be enjoyed, than thy 
l: that it is declared by God himself, that he de- 

Wco iioL the blood of bulls nor any other works of our 
omi ; according to that word, " In vain do they worship 
m€ with the commandments of men ; '' and that, divine 
•aifices;, and those which arc pleasing unto God, are a 
broken spirit and a contrite heart, Matt, xv, Isa, xxix. 

Secondly : there is not only here made that distinc- 
tioQ between the priesthood ami sacrifices which is so 
lilolerable to the Jews, but there is also set forth so 
UM«d and sweet a representation of God, that you can 
fwil find one more so any where. Men describe God, 
ij>eculatively, by certain similitudes ; — ^that find is the 
centre^which is every where, and the sphere which is no 
ihere. But all this is mathematical and physical, which 
we leave to other professors. We are seeking the theolo- 
gjcai definition: that is, not a definition ot the divine 
IBSeiice, which is incomprehensible, but of his will and 
iflbdbn, — what please- him and what docs not please 


him. For that man does not know a prince who knows 
his power and his wealth, but he who understands the 
affections and all the counsels of the prince. So, there 
hre before our eyes the creation of the world and the 
power of God ; but the chief thing of all is to know," the 
end for which, and the design with which, God made 
them. This knowledge the present verse of the Psalm 
sets forth with peculiar sweetness; — that God is such a 
God, that he does nothing, finally, but respect and love 
the contrite, the afflicted, and the distressed ; and that, 
he is the God of the humble and the bruised. Whoso can 
embrace this definition in his mind, he is a theologian. 
For God cannot be apprehended in his majesty and 
power; and therefore, this definition opens to us the 
will of God ; — that he is the God, not of deaths but of 
life ; not of destruction, but of salvation ; not an enemy 
of the humble and the lost, but a lover and a helper ; and 
plainly, that he is the God of life, of salvation, of rest, 
of peace, of all consolation and joy ! 

Wherefore, the prophet consoles all the contrite, by 
saying, that there can be no sacrifice offered more 
pleasing unto God, than that we tremble and fear, and, 
in that fear, believe that God is favourable and ap- 
peased, &c. This is wisdom above all wisdom ; that is, 
divine wisdom. For reason or human sense areues 
thus; — I feel that I have sinned; and therefore, lam 
afflicted in my mind ; therefore, I have an angry God ; 
therefore, all grace is taken away from me. Thus does 
reason, and whatever is beneath Christ, argue. And then 
comes in Satan, and drives on the mind, already inclin- 
ing thereto, unto desperation, either by alarming it with 
examples of divine wrath, or by setting before it those 
. scriptures wherein Christ and the Holy Spirit desire to 
cast down hearts that are in security. By these things 
the evil is increased, and desperation gains, as it were, 
double strength. But what does the wisdom of the Holy 
Ghost teach us? It sets before us, that God is not 
a God who desires to terrify more, those minds which 
are already terrified, or to bruise more, hearts that are al- 
ready bruised ; but who loves those that are contrite. 

afflicted, and humble ; and who waits for and hears the 
crie^ ami groans of those who are in trouble. 

But unless the holy Spirit diffuse this wisdom 
lluougb our hearts, even though it be heard, it is heard 
to no purfKJse. For hearts cannot of themselves a[>pre- 
heiid lliib spiritual wisdom, but on the contrary, when 
they are oppressed with bitterness and sorrow, they do 
on* (Jare to pray. And although I had not myself 

Oi' i ^'crieoce of this peril, yet, I have learnt again 
and again, how^ difficult it is in this struggle to say — Lord, 
hi ' ' Because, hearts under a sense of the wrath of 

Lt nothing and know nothing, whereby they can 

COOdole and raise themselves up ; so absorbed are they in 

Wherefore, I exhort and admonisli you who are 

herealter to be teachers in the church, that w hen minds 

wre in ' M ' itiir, ye teach them that they take 

couraL; ' hope; because, it is written, that 

bewta which are in this way bruised and humbled, are 

the most pleasing sacrihces unto God, which he prefers 

lo all other worship. ^ This is the worship that he waits 

10 receive from all ; and in order to this worship, he sends 

pesliience, famine, tlie sword, and all perils ; that we, 

being afflicted, might hope for the divine help. For he 

^ that he may convert: whereas, we receive this 

: IS a reason why we should turn away, and flee 

ir A. He afflicts that we might say, *'The sacrifices 

of Gild are a broken spirit:'' whereas, we, as when under 

the Pope, either run into monasteries, or seek other 

nws whereby we may make to ourselves a remedy. 

This is what Isaiah saith, "This people turneth not 

QntD hini that smiteth tliera/' Thus, universally, reason, 

de&litute of the M'ord^nd Spirit of God, desires to flee 

from God ; as Peter did in the ship, when he tells Christ 

to depart, beaiuse he could not get away himself; and 

if the s*liip liad been near the shore, no doubt he \vould 

jumped into the sea, Luke v. But as the Holy 

I 1 tr , hes, that a heart thus contrite is a sacri- 

_ s' '.^' i L unto God ; so, Christ there teaches Peter 

not to fear. 


It is therefore quite manifest, that this theology of 
ours does not belong to the darins and secure : for such 
are altogether insensible, and neither see nor understand 
any thing of these spiritual things : and such also are -all 
those who persecute this doctrine, as well teachers as 
magistrates and princes. But this theology belongs OBfy 
to the comforting of the afflicted, miserable, and despair- 
ing. These languish and fall down because their minds 
are broken and bruised ; and therefore, they receive the 
physician Christ, teaching, that this disease is not unto 
death, but is a sacrifice most pleasing unto God. This is 
the medicine which heals those pains unspeakable : nor 
is there any other kind of remedy but this. The woiid 
however and our adversaries laugh at these things as ab- 
surdities, because they do not understand them. But it 
is not absurdity to the Holy Spirit, but the highest wis- 
dom, that, in the time of despair we should the raoat 
hope in mercy, and on the other hand, in the time of 
presunvption and security the most fear. This is the 
worship which the prophet prefers Ui sacrifices; joad 
by teaching invites us, when we would offer unto God 
the most acceptable sacrifice, not to prepare hecatombs, 
nor burnt-ofterings, but to sing this song, *' The sacri- 
fices of God are a broken spirit :" that is, that we be- 
lieve that our vexations and afflictions please God, and 
that we hope in his mercy. 

A broken and a cantrite hearty O God, thou mlt 
not despise. 

He saith ^' a broken and a contrite heart ;'' that is, 
a heart not feignedly, but truly, broken in pieces; which, 
through desperation is, as it were, dying. Such an heart, 
saith he, thou dost not hate, (as we consider thou doM,) 
bat acceptest with pleasure. We see, therefore, that oar 
theology is the word of life and of righteousness; becau^ 
it works and encourages against sin and death, and 
cannot be exercised but in sin, and in infirmity. It is 
also the word of gladness, whose power cannot be felt 
but under sorrow and affliction. But we ar^ snch, that 


^ wast to have the word of life niMJ gtadne^ ami to 
kaM BnUuBg to do with the temptations of death and 
■now. ^Excellent and noble theolof^ians truly. 

It mast be leamt, therefore, that the Christian must 
ke exercised in the midst of death, u ith the bites and 
kmn of co M Oc ience, and between the teeth of the devil 
Md of h^, and most yet hold fast the woni of ^race, 
laas to say under soch fears of conscience. Thou, () 
Lord, favourest me ; because it is written, thut no sacri- 
fae is more pleasing unto God than a contrite heart. 
Old no priesthood more acceptable than that by which 
broken hearts are offered up. llie Po|>e, when he Siicri- 
ioes with a pomp becoming kings, is detestable in tlic 
i^lit of God, and is an alxxnination in comparison of 
one sinner, saying, " God be merciful to me a sinner,** 
Lake xviii. Such an one is a true Po|)e, a true priest, 
■id well-pleasing in the sight of Cuh\; for he offers tlie 
■est acceptable sacrifice — a mind l^roken, and yet 
hoping in his mercy. 

This description or defmition of God, therefore, — 
diat God, in his proper form, is such a (lod who loves 
the afflicted, who pities the broken, who pardons the 
fidlen, and comforts the languid, is most full of consola- 
tion. Can there be a more sweet representation of God 
set forth ? As, therefore, God is such an one really, we 
enjoy him as such, as far as we believe. Moreover, this 
verse plainly casts away all other kind^^ of worship, and 
all other works, and calls us to a trust in the mercy and 
goodness of God only; — that we Ixilieve that God 
faivoors us, even when we seem to ourselves to lie de- 
serted and wretched. Thus, when Natlian told David 
to his face, '^Thou art tlmt man of death," David was 
broken down, and pre|>ared this sacritice. And then, 
nhen he heard, ** Thou shalt not die," he offerrcd up this 
iKrifice. In the midst of wrath he conceived a ho|)e of 
■ercy, and onder the very sense of death a ho|)e of life. 
And it was from this experience, that the present verse 
tiKl its birth ; in which we are taught concerning the sa- 
crifice acceptable unto God ; which is in the midst of 
deadi and of the wrath of God, to hope for grace and 


life. This theology is to be learnt by experience, but 
without experience it is not to be understood : that the 
poor in spirit might know, that they are then in grace 
when they feel the wrath of God the most : and that, the 
hope of mercy may be held fast in desperation, and the 
fear of God in security ; as it is said in another place, 
" The Lord is well pleased with them that fear, him, and 
with them that hope in his mercy/' Psalm cxlv. For 
according to this verse, God is defined to . be nothii^ 
but mercy and favour; that is, with respect to the 
broken and afflicted, &c. 

But this passage must also be considered negativdy. 
For, as it is a sacrifice well pleasing unto God, if, when 
in sorrow and broken, we hope in his mercy ; therefore, 
he forbids desperation, as being the greatest iniquity. For 
he wills, that tribulation should be endured in faitn, aocl 
not that desperation should be added to it. For it is as 
great a sin to despair on account of our own unworthi- 
ness, as to presume on account of our own righteoua- 
iVess. The middle way must be held ; otherwise, we shall 
make, of the most acceptable sacrifice, the greatest abo- 
mination. Let the sacrifice remain a sacrifice, but let it \ 
not become a destruction ; for a destruction it is, to -: 
despair. Therefore, let each of us so bear the cross and . ; 
afflictions, that we be not overcome with sorrows and \% 
fall into desperation. For this is to take away divinifcjfS 
from God, which he displays most of all in his mercy ; w^~ 
the description* of him given in this verse proves.—-*^. 
These things are said and taught daily ; but "when M«t-^ 
come to the practice of them, there are few who act up *' 
to them. For we ought even then to stand fast in mercy, ''■' 
when we seem to be overcome with anguish ; and to ' . 
offer that sacrifice which the Holy Spirit presses so 
much upon us. And here is something even for the 
weak, if they do not quite leave their station. For no 
. one is master of this exercise, but we all remain scholars ; 
as Paul also saith, " Not as though I had already 
attained, either were already perfect, but I follow on, 
Phil. iii. ■, 


VERSE 19. 

Ua goody O Lord, in thy good pleasure unto Zion^ * \ 
iht wnfls of Jerusalem may be built, 

Wc have hitherto, throughout the whole Psalnij ther 
\es of justification and repentance^ with their follow- 
^ frails, set forth with great fulness and vvith the mostr^ 
Iv^hly words, both affirmative and negative. The affir- 
ImEhre words were, "Create in me a clean heart, O. 
|God :** for since he prays for a new creation, he clearly 
vms tiotiiing upto Free-will, The negative words 
wcie, " For thou desirest not sacrifice :' wliich signify, 
thai we cannot arrive at the appeasing of ^the wrath of 
(lod and attending unto grace, by any of our own 
H>irfc&; but must stand only in this, — ^that God is 

The prophet now ceases from doctrine, and adds a 
I prayer. As though lie had said, I have hitherto sliewn 
way of justification^ and what is true repentance, 
llie maimer of ilie turgiveness of sins. Now nothing 
itmirins^ but that \ve pray, that this knowledge he dif- . 
abroad amon^ all the people, and be exercised, 
false teachers will not be wanting, who will so 
(Wch the law and its sacrifices, that this part of doc- 
cuncerniog free mercy, will be utterly neglected. 
fare tliere is need of prayer, that, against such, 
doctrine might be held tast among the people. 
we are not to imagine that David prays for the 


building, because, Jerusalem was then flou- 

,ig, ami was then the most liighly blessed both with 
and the greatest princes : and yet, David prays, 
it» wall? might be built: not, however by builders 
» handle such materials as wood, stones, and mortar, 
iby the \jn\\. The ualls were then standing, and yet 
ijB, t^lat U^ey might he buitt. Therefore, although 
^y mean Jerusalem then standing, yet he speaks of 
itUegoricul Jerusalem, or uses the figure synecdc»che, 
wlien he mentions the name Jerusalem, means the 
^^Bo^e or tlie church throughout the whole city and 




kii^om ; that, as the city was well fortified against the ^ 

assault of enemies, so it might be fortified also in spirit 4 

against the power of the devil alid all spiritual snares : ^ 

sedflig that, destroyers would not be wanting, who woald^ 

drive men to dp good according to the Decalogue^ ttd it 

teach nothing concerning a trust in mercy; and tiiitiii 

tbiis tt would come to pass, that they Would be dmupjiu 

tf^^^j^ iiitd a trusting in Uieir own righteousness. Agahiiijllaj 

tli^se' (dbftb hA) do thoul build, that they may truly knd#V 

and understand Aee ; that is, that they may know, tbiiiM 

diey are rig|hteous by thy grace and mercy only. " A 

This^ is imifding the walls that they may be stronu 

when men leom in this way to trust in the mercy Wji 

God, and to receive grace. For those who have ondftti 

begun^ incitsase daily more and more. For in this knoni^ 

VMgdy it is not enou^ to have begun ; because, as Sata]i£ 

after the receiving of grace, rages against the godly wra|t 

all his ministers both angelic and human, therefore, it V^ 

necessary to stand fast in the field of battle, and it is iMg^ 

Cess^ that minds should be fortified and confirmmi 

more and ihore ; that, as Satan does not cease from n^t 

saulting, so', he that keepeth Israel may not cease froriaj 

defending and fortifying. This verse, therefore, Contaiiiik 

a petition for the bestowing and preserving of grac" 

And here again, he ascribes all things to the goodness i 

Grt)d, and not to his own merits or endeavours: — f 

God would preserve this knowledge of grace accor 

to his own good-will. And then, that he would 

build the Walls ; that is, that minds may be strong ai 

Well fortified with this knowledge, that in the time 

bfltttle, they may stand against the devil. — And, whMii 

the people are thus instructed, justified, preserved^ 

and defended against all the errors and snares dC 

Satan, — 

VERSE 20. 

Then shalt thou bt pleased with the sacrifices a^ 
righteousness^ with burnt-offering and whole bumt-offef^ 
hig; then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar. 

That b, then shall we praise those sacrifices which 


we bave before condemned, and they shall please thae 
For you may rightly understand sacrifices in generali 
wbecher ttiey be those which were oft'ered according ta 
ifae law, or spiritual sacrifices; for both are the sacrihces 
of righteousness, because they each rest wholly on the 
liifiiie goodn^s and mercy. For when men thus trust im 
mercy, then, if a calf be offered, it is acceptable unto 
God, and is a sacrifice of righteousness ; and if there be 
lo caiS^ then the *'calf of the lips' (as Hosea calls it) is 
incrpta ble ; therefore, I understand sacrifices in general. 
Tbey are called, moreover, *' sacrifices of righteous- 
aiss,^ not l>ecause they justify, (for the person is already 
lijrUr.^^nc i)y fjijth or mercy,) but because they are offered 
hv d or righteous persons, or by righteousness it- 

sell- For when the people are righteous, and know that 
il b bj* grace alone that they please God, and not by any 
muthkie^s or merit of their own, then, whatever they 
do accoriling to tlie word of God, is rightly called a sar 
criiiceor a work nf righteousness*, even those works which 
«fe corfKiml, — If h man drink wine, he drinks the wine 
asness; if he put on his coat, he pots on the 
..v.i 1^. i ighteousness ; when he governs his family, be 
KDvenis tlie family of righteousness ; if he w^ge war, if 
tuegcnrern tlxe state, if he live, if he die, all those works 
•ne works of righteousness ; because, the person is rigji- 
tons, — In the same way understand the term *' altar;" 
iHietber it be that which was at that time in the temple 
IK Jeros^alem, or the allegorical temple which exists at 
this day throughout the wliole \v'orki 

The 'pniphet therefore sets betbre us a twofold sa- 
criltce* Tlie first is, that which he called '* a contrite 
letrt ; * that is, when a broken spirit b felt, and a 
Immbied heart, nhich is straggling under tlioughts upon 

wnith and judgment of Gtxl, Here, see that thou add 

desperation: but trust, and believe by hoping against 

for Christ is the physician of the contrite, who 

lo raise up the fiillen, and not to quench the 

_ flax, but to feed its fire. If therefore thou be 

king flajc, do not extinguish thyself; that is, do not 
ion. If tohou be a bruised reed, do not brqije 



thyself more, or give thyself up to be braised by Satan; 
but give thyself up to Cnrist, who hath goodwill towards 
men, and loveth bruised and contrite spirits. This is the 
fitst and chiefest sacrifice. 

And then, when thou knowest that God is the jus* 
tifier of sinners, if thou give to the one God thankSt 
thou then addest another sacrifice ; that is, the sacdfioe 
of Tetum, or of gratitude for a gift received ; which Mr 
^erifice, is not merit, but confession, and a testification of 
grace, which thy God has given thee of mere mercy. 
Therefore, the whole burnt ofiferings under the law«. 
which were offered by the saints and by the ri^teoua, 
were offered, not to the end that they might by them be 
justified, but that they might testify, that they had re- 
ceived mercy and consolation. Thus a sacrificed bullock 
is a testifying of grace ; or, so to speak, a work-voice of 
gratitude, or a manual gratitude; wherein, the hand 
utters gratitude as with vocal expressions. 

This IS another kind of sacrifice. The first sacrifice 
is a sacrifice of mortification, that we be neither pufied 
«p in prosperity, nor sink into desperation in adversity ; 
but that we regulate security in the fear of God, andi 
under a sense of the wrath and judgment of God, hold 
fast our hope in mercy ; so that we neither dash our 
head against the heavens, nor our feet against the earth. 
The other kind of sacrifice is the exercise of our graces. 
This consists, not in our tongue only, in confessing our 
faith, or in preaching the name of the Lord, but in all 
the actions of life. And it is called the " sacrifice of 
righteousness," because it therefore pleases God, because 
the person is righteous, and because that sacrifice of 
humiliation has preceded which holds the middle way 
J[)etweenpresumption and desperation. 

This, however, is not a mathematical, but a physical, 
medium. For although it is impossible, under this our 
infirmity, so to live that we never should run aside either 
to die right hand or to the left ; yet, the endeavour is 
required, that, when we feel either security or despera- 
tion, we do not indulge, but resist themt. For as when 
the mark is set before archers, some allowance is made 


far them who do not altogether miss the mark, although 
they do not hit the veiy mathematical point or middle ; 
10, it is enou^ with (xod, that we fight against security 
ad pride of spirit, and also aminst desperation. And 
thou^ dieie be something dencient in their joy under 
tthrenityy and in their fear under prosperity, yet that 
ii not imputed unto the saints, for they have Christ 
Mamedialor; throng whom, it comes to pass, that 
thej mie considered as periect saints, though they have 
seuody the first-fruits of sanctification ; for the tenths 
are in Christ, thou^ they have hardly the first-fruits in 

Tlie sum therefore of the whole doctrine is this. — 
That the afflicted raise themselves up through the merit 
of Christ, or through the mercy of God ; and that those 
vho are without afflictions, walk in the fear of God, and 
cist away all security. Unto this doctrine, the prayer 
which this Psalm contains is necessary — ^that the Lord 
voold build up his church : and then will follow the 
Mcrifioes which are well-pleasing and acceptable unto 
God. Which may our God and Redeemer Jesus Christ 
bestow upon us abundantly. Amen. 





jWartin Eutl^rt; 

nrrgKDBD to orvEp i.T ohb vibw, his description of 





The opportunity afforded by the present Number, U 
rmbrmced by the Translator to iutbrm you^ Umt in Ihia 
pttft af the work which contaitus Selections from Luther on 
the Bpbtles to the Romans^ to the Galatians, and of Peter, 
^ko^ he has, after due deliberation, considered it right, not to 
re4nxislate those portions which are taken from the Comment 
tar^r oo the Galatians, hut to give you the same translation that 
ha* bilherto ever received the sanction of the Church. His 
in so doing, was not to avoid trowble, (for it was as 
i labour to transcribe, and to moderniae the orthography, 
Ipc. as it would have been to re-translate,) but he felt a check 
la idoptifig any measure, which should have the shadow of a 
%t»iew^y to supersede that translation of Lutheb on the 
GahUiaD», which ha» been so long established by the univer- 
ttl np^robation of good men, and so signally owned and ho^ 
ioored of God to the edification and various deliverances of 
Ui people. 

It will perhaps be asked, why he published Selections from 
the Commentary on the Galatians at all, when the whole work 
ii to public, and may be so easily obtained ? — He answers ; 
Thoie who desire to read Luther for true profit, are those who 
U0 Udder a concern about their eternal state : and such, for the 
part, cannot afford to give 12s. 6d, for that one whole 
[ : which is, we believe, the common price of that invaluable 
prodoction. Considering, therefore, the state and desires of 
Meh needy and seeking characters, he thought he might not 
reader an unacceptable service, if he should select, according 
to his ability, such portions as he judged would meet their wants 
and suit their cases, and should comprise them within the space 
uf two or three Numbers; and consequently, within the price 
of 4b, or 5«.; which space and price^ the Selections from the 

fOLU O 6 

.. 200 

Galatians will not he trusts exceed, even with the addition of 
much invaluable matter of the same nature and purport, from 
the Commentaries on the Romans, Peter, Psalms, and other 
works of Luther. 

He would also observe, that from the quantity of matter 
which has, by typographical arrangements^ been compressed 
into a page, he hopes he shall be enabled to augment the work 
with two or three pieces of our great Author more than those 
enumerated in the Proposals ; in the selection and disposal of 
which, he shall he hopes have in view the edification and best 
interests of his /Friends. 

Nor would he wholly lose this opportunity of acknowledg- 
ing the encouragement with which his feeble endeavours have 
thus far been countenanced. — May the future reception of the 
work prove, that the undertaking was not altogether in vain! 
Hie motive which gave birth to it was, a will to render, 
'^ in quiet,'' and ** without observation,* a service to the 
Church of God in this " dark and cloudy day;" when the 
eyes of so few can '* see their teachers,'* and when all are 
sighing under ** a famine of hearing the word." And as He 
who has all supplies in himself, hath said, '^ When the poor 
and needy seek water and there b none, and their tongue 
faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of 
Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places,' 
and fountains in the midst of the rallies. I will make die wil«' 
demess a pool of water, and dry land springs of water ; " — to 
see the present little work so blessed as to be made one of the- 
very least of thotfe " springs " or " fountains," in the present 
^' wilderness" and " dry land," is, he trusts, all his desire. 

H C. 





[*thiB Epistle of Paul to the Romans contains alone 

tan of ihe whole scripture, and is a most complete 

le of the New Testament, or Gospel ; which Gospel 

ihibits^ of itself, in the most brief and most clear 

I consider it ought, not only to be imbibed by 

iB' ^ Lins from their youth, and to be thoroughly 

liikici^^u^ud to a word; but, to be, by unceasing and 
aiilckHis meditation, pondered and digested, and cast 
Oown^ like well-digested food, into the ** lower parts of 
the belly. * For this epistle, is such a full treasury of spi- 
nluaj riches, and as it were, such an overflowing cornn- 
coptit% that if you read it a thousand limes over, there is 
^ ■ : ' ^ in it something new to be found, so that the last 
t reading shall be ever the most profitable. Be- 
caase, under the divine teaching, and under the gro%vth 
in the knowledge of Christ, the nature of faith, (which is 
therein to be learnt and experienced in the workings of 
ill iU divine sensations with power,) carries you deeper 
tad deeper into the subject ; the faith grows as you pro- 
ceed^ and becomes, by its own increase, more strong, 
aiore sweety more precious, and more enriched. I 
thought, therefore, I might render a profitable service, if 
I should spend upon it, (according to the measure of the 
^ft which I have received of God,) a certain portion of 
labour; and, by this short preface, open a plain way for 
its being read and understood by my posterity, with 
more clearness, and with less ofience. To which \vork I 


feel myself more especially inclined, because I know 
that this epistle, which ought to be made the only test, 
and only plan, has been so obscured by the unprofitable 
comments and vain sophistries of so many, that its grand 
scope, though as plain as possible, has been understood 
but by few writers during many ages. 

In the first place then, we must examine, and cleaiiy 
understand, the nature of the terms and figures of speech 
used by the apostle. And above all, what he wp^ld Mve 
us to understand by these and the like terms — law, sin, 
grace, faith, righteousness, flesh, spirit. For, if we un- 
derstand not what is meant by these, though we read 
never so diligently, it will be but labour in vain. The 
term law^ is not here to be understood according to the 
Manner of philosophy, or reason, as being a doctrine 
tfaat teaches what ought to be done, and what ou^t not 
to be done. Eor all human laws are fulfilled by externid 
works, even though those works be done contrary to Ae 
desire of the heart. But God, as being the seurdier of 
hearts, judges according to the inward motions of die 
heart. Wherefore, the law of God requires the obedi- 
ence of the heart and affections. Nor is it fuHiUed by 
any external works, unless those works be done with ml 
the willingness of the heart, and with the whole flow -of 
the affections. And therefore, there is nothing that ihe 
law so vehemently arrests and condemns, as tnose spe- 
cious and outside works : that is, hypocrisy, where ihete 
is falsehood and any deception designed in the heait 
Hence, the prophet saith, '^All men ate liars,^' Psalm 
cxvi. Therefore, nature cannot fulfil the law. For all 
men are by nature inclined to evil, and hate the law. 
And, wherever there is not a willing and happy inclina- 
tion of the heart towards God and his law, there is sin, 
and the wrath of God ; how many and great works 
soever you may do under such an hypocrisy. 

After taking this view of the nature of the Ikw^ 
St. Paul, chap. ii. brings forward all the Jews as sinneis 
and transgressors of the law, notwithstcmding all their 
show of obedience to the law by their external works, 
" For (saith he) not the hearers of the law are jnift 


befete God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." 

By which he means, that no one can fulfil the law by 

estemal works. For he saith to those external workers, 

** Tbou sayest a roan should not commit adultery, and 

Akxi cGmmittest adultery thyself Therefore, wherein 

diDn judgest another, thou condemnest thyself^ for thou 

thyself doest the «arae things that thou judgesL" As 

ih o u g^ he had said — thou, indeed, with a certain spe* 

Qoas hypocrisy, walkest in the external works of the 

Imt^ and judgest others who walk not so. Thou teachest 

illBiO, and beholdest the mote that is in thy brotlier s 

eye» but considerest not the lyenm ttiat is in thine own 

«ye. For, although, from the fear of punisliment or the 

W¥C of thyself, thou hast a show of obedience to the law, 

by thy external works, yet, thou doest all these things 

virii an unwilling mind, with a reluctant heart, and 

ailbout love and afiection toward God and the law; 

tad, in thine heart, thou wishest there were neither law 

nor lawgiver; and that thy desires vvere not thus re- 

Therefore, although thou hast a show of obedi- 

io die law by these works, yet, in thy heart, thou 

the law, and art at enmity against it* — The 

speaks thus. M^hat (saith lie) is thy righteous- 

if, whilst thou teachest others not to steal, thou 

%icJ fj in thy heart, lusteth after theft with a desire that 

mM ^sertainly break out, were it not for the tear of pu- 

Mhoienlr And we often see, in hypocrites of this kmd, 

ik^ipeii act, how long soever it may be dissembled, at 

linfrilow and break out. therefore, (saith he) *'Thou 

leacfaest another teachest thou not thyself ? '' that 

tbou ihyBetf knowest not what thou teachest : for 

thyself maintai nest not, in thine heart, what the law 

that it cannot be fulfilled without the ati'ection 

heart. For, so far from the law being iultilied and 

_ by external works, it even causes sin to abound ; 

it 15 aaid in the fifth chapter. Therefore, the more you 

oattj lioderstand the law, the less you love it : because 

hedDOte ttia f<njnd to require and demand that which 

f T— •-^rv to yotir desires and inclinations : that is, con* 

ru itnrc. 


Wherefore, the apostle saith, chap, vii., " The law 
is spiritual." As though he had said, if the law had been 
carnal, or a moral doctrine only, it might have been ful- 
filled by external works. But since it is spiritual, that is, 
requiring the affection of the mind, and the obedience of 
the spirit, no one can fulfil it, unless, with a happy 
heart, an ardor of mind, and a fiiU flow of affection, hie 
do those things which the law commands. But, sudi 
a state of heart, such an ardor of mind, and such an af- 
fection, thou wilt never obtain by any powers, or merits 
of thine own, but only, by the inspiration and operation 
of the Holy Spirit, lie also renews the man, and makes 
him spiritual : so that, being made spiritual, he mi^t 
love the spiritual law, and that then he might fulfil it 
with a happy and willing heart, and might, from a cer- 
tain holy impulse within, be moved to do freely, wil- 
lingly, and happily, those things which the law com- 
mands. The truth, therefore, is this. — The law is spiri- 
tual : that is, the law is not fulfilled but by the Spirit, 
and the heart renewed by the Spirit. And wherever that 
Spirit and renewal of heart by the Spirit is not, so far 
from there being a fulfilling, there will be a soured 
opposition to, ana hatred of the law, which is itself "holy 
and just and good." 

. Accustom thyself, therefore, to this phraseology and 
characteristic mode of expression of the apostle: be- 
cause, " doing the works of the law," and " fulfilling 
the law" are two very different things. Doing the works 
of the law is when, without grace and without Spirit, we 
begin with zeal to work, and endeavour to fulfil the law 
by our own strength and free-will. And as, while we are 
in that state, there remains working in the heart a cer- 
tain servile fear and soured hatred of the law, all such 
works are, undoubtedly, sins and vile breaches of the 
law, and displeasing in the sight of God ; as the aposde 
shews, chap, iii., " By the deeds of the law, there shall 
no flesh be justified in the sight of God." — Here, there- 
fore, let us take occasion to observe, how glaringly those 
sophists and doctors of old taught, when they asserted, 
that we can by the deeds of the law make ourselves meet ' 

to receive grace! For, how can I prepare or make my- 
self meet to receive grace by works wfiich are done with 
a reluctant heart, and opposing affections! How can 
thai work be pleasing to God, which I do, not willingly, 
but with soured reluctance, and rooted hatred against 
the law! 

But, to fulfil the law. is to do the things which the 
hiw commands with a joj^fol, glad, and tree heart; that 
h, spontaneously and willingly to live unto (Jod^ and do 
rood works, as though there were no law at all Sucli a 
freeoess, gladness, willing inclination, ami flowing affec- 
tioo, however, is in none, but by the life-giving Spirit, 
ilHl his vital energy and moving impulse in the heart; as 
fiibewn chap. v. The Spirit is given only by faith in 
Jesus Christ ; as the apostle has said in the beginning of 
the Epistle. And this faith comes by the hearing of the 
Go^peK or word of God ; by w hich Christ is preached 
as having died, having been buried and being risen 
tgain, for us ; as he shews chapters iii, iv, and x. There- 
fcfe the whole of justification is of God* Faith and the 
Holy Spirit are of God, and not of us. 

Hence faith alone justifies, and faith alone fulfils the 
kv. For faitli, through the merits of Christ, obtains the 
Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit renews, gladdens, quickens, 
tod kindles such an holy flame in the heart, that it does 
afaalevcr the law requires. And hence, out of faith thus 
Ifii^ within and effectually working, spontaneously flow 
goocT works indeed. This is the scope of the apostle in 
chap* iii- For having therein first utterly condemned all 
wons of the law, lest he should seem to destroy and 
make void the law by the doctrine of faith, he anticipates 
the objection. "We do not (says he) make void the law 
dvoogh faith, but we establish the law : *' that is, we 
leach how the law is, by beheving or faith, fulfilled 

We now proceed to see what we are to understand 
by the term Sin. — Sin, as read in the scriptures, signi- 
tefiy not the outw ard act only, but all that innate spring- 
head and force of sin, unbelief; or all that in-bred de- 
prtvity, which we inherit from Adam, and by which we 


are naturally drawn and forced into tin : m a word^ thft 
corrupt heart itself and the whole of our reason, togedier 
with its best and most exalted powers, by which we 
can do nothing but sin. For we are then said to sio^ 
when by the depraved urging or impulse within^ we are 
moved on, and impelled headlong into that which: ia 
evil : and no external sin can be committed, but where 
the man is first urged on by this innate force of depra- 
vity, and. then driven headlong with all his deur6,aiid, aa 
it were, rolled and dragged away into sin. It is this de^ 
pravity of heart, this innate propensity to evil, this viee 
in the grain, this unbelief, (the spring and fountajm-head 
of all sins,) that the scripture and God mean when they 
speak of sin. And as it is faith alone that justifies, aod 
faith alone that obtains and receives the Spirit and die 
power of fulfilling the law, and of doing good works in^ 
deed ; so, it is unbelief alone, that is the spring-head of 
sin, and that stirs up or inflames the flesh to sin and to 
evil works ; as it was in the cases of Adam and Eve 19 
Paradise, Gen. iii. 

Hence Christ in the Gospel makes unbelief the nuun 
sin. ^'The Spirit (says he) shall convince the world of sin, 
because they believe not on me,'' John xvi. WherefoRb 
works truly good, like good fruits, cannot proceed hot 
from a good tree ; that is, from faith influencing aad 
working in the heart. Bad works, cannot proceed butifroa 
a bad tree; that is, from unbelief in the heart. Hence it h^ 
that this depravity and unbelief in the heart, is called 
throughout the scriptures the head of the serpent ami 
o( the old dragon, which is to be bruised by the blessed 
seed of the woman, even Christ. 

And now, these two terms Grace, and Gift, have this 
difference. Grace, is the favour, the mercy, die i^see 
good-will of God towards us. Gift, is the Holy S^^at 
itself, which he pours out into the hearts of those j» 
whom he has mercy, and towards whom he has a favour; 
as appears from chap, v., where the apostle distinguishes 
.gift, from grace. And although we do not enjoy the fid- 
ness of the gift, or spirit now in this life, having the,raB»- 
nants of sin still within us which war against die SpiBi, 


rapMtle shews chap. vii.» Gai iii,, ana as in Oen. 


j^b^ fature war between the seed of the woman and the 
^^d of the serpent is spoken of; yet, the blessedness of 
^Kmce ib, that the sin which remains in us is not imputed 
^Vmo us, but we are accounted righteous before God. 
For the grace or favour of God toward us, is not in im- 
peifect measure, as we have observed concerning the 
oft ; bat God accepts us with free good- will, and full 
m¥our, for Christ's sake, our Mediator ; and because we 
batre the earnest and first-fruits of the Spirit. How much 
soever^ therefore, the remnants of sin within us may turn 
lod rage at times, we are, nevertheless, still accounted 
itg^Cieous before God ; and the sin is not imputed unto 
w&f by reason of our faith, which keeps up a continual 
lesistaoce against the flesh. 

Hereby, thou wilt now understand chap, vii ; where 
sbe apostle, altiiough already justified by the Spirit, still 
aoknowledges himself a sinner ; and yet, notwithstanding 
ttli$, he saith chap, viii., *' There is therefore now no 
coodemoation to them that are in Christ Jesus/* Who- 
ever of us, therefore, are justified by faith in Christ, are 
both sinners and righteous. Sinners, on account of the 
flesh not being completely mortified, and because, having 
the remnants of sin still within us, we attain not unto 
the fulness of the Spirit, Righteous, because w^e have 
the earnest and first-truits of the Spirit, and because, for 
Christ's sake, and our faith in liim, Gotl, having a pater- 
nal favour unto us, imputes not unto us the remnants of 
an within us, nor judges it until sin shall be utterly de- 
ftUoyed and abolished by death. 

Now let us see what we are to understand by Faith. 

Faith i« not a certain cold notion, or vague imagina- 

of the human mind, which any one, hearing the 

o^pel-history, may vainly form and make out to him- 

If : for some, when they hear faith so much preached, 

d see that they can themselves talk a great deal 

t faith and Christ, and yet do not find that they are, 

this Imowledge, nor by the addition of meditation, 

to works and to follow after good works, fall 

last into that impious error of denying that faith alone 


justifies, and aflirm that works are also required. These, 
when they hear the Gospel, form to themselves certain 
notions, and turn over in their minds some frigid cogi- 
tations concerning Christ, and then think that this vague 
dream of theirs, and these cold cogitations, are faith. 
And of such, these are the common sayings — 'Well 
then (say they) if faith alone justifies, I hear the Gospel, 
I know the history concerning Christ, therefore I be- 
lieve/ But, as this is a mere cold notion and human co- 
gitation which does not renew the heart nor have any 
effect upon it, no newness of life, no works of fisiith are 
seen to follow. 

But true faith is the work of God in us, by which 
we are born again, and renewed of God and the Spirit 
of God, John iii. ; by which the old Adam is destroyed 
and we are wholly transformed in all things. As the 
apostle saith, by faith we are made new creatures in 
Christ, and the Holy Spirit becomes the life and govern- 
ing law in our hearts. Faith works so effectually, is 
such a living spring and powerful energy in the heart, 
that it cannot remain inactive, but must break forth into 
works. Nor could he that has true faith sit down at ease, 
whether good works were commanded or not : even if 
there were no law, he would, by this impulse influencing 
and urging him in his heart, be carried forth into action, 
nor would he come short in any pious and Christian 
duty. Whereas he, who does not his works from this 
living and impelling affection of mind, is in unbelief, and 
a total stranger to faith : and there are many who dis- 
pute and argue much about faith in the schools, and 
yet, know not themselves " what they say nor whereof 
they affirm." 

Faith, therefore, is a. steady confidence in the mercy 
of God toward us, living in the heart, and there effectu- 
ally working; by which, we are enabled to cast ourselves 
wholly upon God, and to entrust ourselves unto him; so 
that, supported by this confidence, we hesitate not to 
meet death a thousand times. This animating confidence 
in the mercy of Ciod, gladdens, cheers, and enlarges the 
heart, and carries it forth in the softest and sweetest af- 

fectioiis towards him. It so strengthens the heart of him 
dttt b^ ' that, having this reliance on God, he fears 

not to : . alone in the face of the whole creation ; such 
an mtrepid boldness, such a supporting courage, does 
the Spirit of -God received by fiiith, put into the heart. 
Upon this "we follow on, and by this lively impulse in the 
bwrt, we are moved on to good. This gladdened incli- 
nilion of heart we follow up, so as to find a spontanea 
OBSf willing, prompt, and glowing desire to do, to bear, 
to ^Ser all things in obedience to so merciful a God and 
Filber, who, through Christ, has enriched us with such 
a fulness of grace, and overwhelmed us with such an 
ibandance of riches. And it never can be, that this effi- 
aiid life of faith can be in any one, without its 
og him to continue in good works, and to bring 
fcith fruit unto God ; even as it is impossible that a fu- 
Deral pile should be set on fire, and the flame of it not 
*hii>e forth. Wherefore, in this important matter, take 
bfed that thou trust not to the vain fancies and vague 
cogitations of thine own brain, or to the idle imagina- 
tions of the sophist. These sopliists have neither heart 
oor understanding, but are beasts serving their own 
only, born for nothing else but the holiday-feasts 
le schools. But pray thou unto God, who by his 
word commanded the light to shine out of darkness, that 
be would shine into thy heart and beget in thee faith ; 
ar thou wilt never in truth believe, even though thou 
sboaldst, by such notional cogitations as these, strive 
alter the attainment and possession of faith for a thou- 
^uid years together. 

Inis real faith is true righteousness, which the 
le calls die righteousness of God ; that is, which 
its and stands before God, because it is the pure gift 
of Gixl* And this righteousness renews, and transforms 
die w*hole man, and renders him such, that, according 
to the common definition of righteousness, he '* renders 
10 every one his own." For when by this faith we are 
ified and brought to love the law of God, by thus 
Tying God and his law, w^e render unto God the 


honour due unto him. Moreover, whea by this £Mth we 
believe that we are freely reconciled to God throq^ 
Christ, who gave himself up entirely to become a servant 
unto our salvation, then abo, in like manner, we are 
enabled to become servants unto our neighbour; and 
thus again we ^^ render to every one of his own.** But 
ynto this righteousness of the heart we shall never attaint 
by any strivings of our own free-will, or by any powera 
or merits of our own. For» as no one but God himself 
can implant in the heart that vital energy, faith, so no 
one can expel from himself that enmity, the unbelief of 
the heart; it is the work of the grace and Spirit of 
God only ; so utterly impossible is it to deliver our- 
selves from one sia by our own powers. How spe- 
cious a show soever, therefore, external works may carry 
with them, yet, whatever is not of faith is hypocrisy 
and sin. 

And, finally, concerning the terms Flesh and Spu;it» 
which so often occur in this epistle. — By Flesh you aie 
not to understand, in the common sense of the term, de- 
sires and lu^ts only. Nor by Spirit are you to understand 
those things only that are carried on in the internal re- 
cesses of the mind and heart. According to the apostle, 
aijid Christ himself, John iii., you are to understand by 
flesh " whatsoever is born of the flesh : " that is, tfae 
whole man, his body, his soul, and his whole reason, to- 

§ ether with all its greatest and best faculties : because all 
lese faculties savour of nothing but flesh and seek no- \ 
thiijig but what is carnal. You are to consider flesh whatr « 
ever is without the Spirit of God, even thou^ it be 
thinking or speaking of God, or faith, or any spiritoal ^ 
thipgs. You are to call flesh, all works, how good aod \ 
Ifply soever in appearance, that are done without l))e 
grace and motions of the Holy Spirit in the heart Thjp 
is clear from Gal. v., where the apostle enumerates, 
among the nruits of the flesh, heresies, and division^. 
And, Kom. viii. he saith, the law was weak through the 
flesh: which is to be understood, not of lust only, but.of 
the whole enmity and depravity of nature ; and, in one 

ipord of unbelief, which is the grand secret spring of all 
fii^ vaa, the greatest of all sins. 

On the coatmry, by Spirit, you are to understand 
^ritual things, even external works, when they proceed 
(nm rile spiritnal man, or from the heart renewed by the 
Holy Spirit. That washing of the feet which Christ did 
his disciples was Spirit, although an external 
The fishing of Peter was Spirit, to which he re- 
alter he was justified by the Spirit, — Flesh, there- 
feie, is whatever a man does seeking and savouring of 
eafiml things. Spirit, is whatever a man does, either 
nithitt or without, exercising faith and love, and seeking 
SfMrilual things. 

Unless you understand all these terms, you will com- 
liebeiKi neither this Epistle of St. PauJ, nor the other 
looks of the holy scriptures. And therefore, what authors 
they may be who use these terms in any other 
be thou in nothing moved with such authority of 
tMit shun them all as a contagious pestilence. 



GALATIANS lii. 19- 

Wherefore then serveth the Law? It was added be- 
of transgressions. 

Am things are divers and distinct, so the uses' of thei» 
WK divers and distinct : therefore, they may not be con- 
Ij^ntfiH : for if they be, there must needs be a confusion 
if die tilings also, A woman may not wear a man's 
ip|WEfeiy nor a man a woman's attire. Let a man do 
te work^ that belong to a man^ and a woman the works 
iM belong to a woman. Let every man do that which 
vocation and office requireth. Let pastors and 
n teaclv the Word of God purely. Let magis- 
gcweni their subjects, and let subjects obey theiir 
tti^slrales. Let every diing senre in his due place and 

p 2 



order. Let the sun shine by day, and the moon ajnd stars 
by night Let the sea give fishes ; the earth grain; the 
woods wild beasts and trees, &c. In like manner let not 
the law usurp the office and use of another ; that is to 
say of justification : but let it leave this only to grao^ 
to the promise, and to faith. What is then the office of 
the law? — ^Transgressions. Or else (as he saith in another 
place,) " The law entered that sin should abound." A 
goodly office forsooth ! ^' The law (saith he) was added 
because of transgressions : " that is to say, it was added 
besides and after the promise, until Christ, the ^* seed^" 
should come unto whom it whom it was promised. 


Here you must understand, that there is a douUe 
use of the law. One is civil. For God hath ordained 
civil laws, yea, all laws, to punish transgressions. Every 
law then is given to restrain sin. If it restrain sin, theii» 
it maketh men righteous ! — No ! nothing less ! For in 
that I do not kill, I do not commit adultery, I do not 
steal ; or, in that I abstain from other sins, I do it not , 
willingly, or for the love of virtue, but I fear the prison, 
the sword, and the hangman. These do bridle and re- 
strain me that I sin not ; as bonds and chains restrain 
a lion or a bear, that he tear and devour not every thing 
that he meeteth. Therefore, the restraining firom sin 
is not righteousness, but rather, a signification of un« , 
righteousness. For as a mad or wild b^t is bound, lest 
he should destroy every thing that he meeteth ; even so, 
the law doth bridle a mad and furious man, that he sin 
not after his own lust. This restraint sheweth plain^ 
enough, that they which have need of the law (as all 
they have which are without Christ,) are not righteous; 
but rather, wicked and mad men ; whom it is necessaiy 
by the bonds and prison of the law, so to bridle, ihit 
they sin not. — ^Therefore, the law justifieth not ! 

ITie first use then of the law is, to bridle the wicked. 
For the devil reigneth throughout the whole world, and 
enforceth mtiti to all kinds of horrible wickedness. There- 


fore, God hath ordained magistrates, parents, ministers^ 
laws« bonds, and all civil ordinances^ that if they can do 
DO more, yet, at the least, they naay bind the devil's hands, 
diat he rage not in his bond slaves after his own lust. 
"» as therefore they that are possessed, in whom the 
mightily reigneth, are kept in bonds and chains lest 

should hurt others ; even so, in the world, which is 

aossessed of the devil and carried headlong into all 
tiofb of w ickedness, the magistrate is present with his 
bonds and chains, that is to say, with his laws, binding 
his hands and feet, that he run not headlong into all 
liads of mischief. And if he suffer not lumself to be 
bridled after this sort, then he loseth his head. This civil 
restraint is very necessary and appointed of God ; as well 
for public peace, as also for the preservation of all things ; 
_ bu t espeaally, lest the course of the Gospel should 
^^hindiered by the tumults and seditions of wicked, out- 
^^eotis, and proud men. But Paul entreateth not here 
of this civil use and office of the law. It is indeed very 
aeoeasary, but it justifieth not. For as a possessed or a 
fluid man is not therefore free from the snares of the 
devil, or well in his mind, because he hath his hands 
and his feet bound, and can do no hurt; even so, the 
world, although it be bridled by the law from outward 
wickedness and mischief, yet it is not therefore righteous, 
bat still continueth wicked. Yea, this restraint sheweth 
plainly, that the world is wicked and outrageous, stirred 
tip and enforced to all wickedness by his prince the 
devil ; for otherwise, it need not to be bridled by laws 
that it should not sin. 

Another use of the law is divine and spiritual: which 
as Paul saith, to *• increase transgressions;" that is 
say, to reveal unto a man his sin, his blindness, his 
mideiy, his impiety, ignorance, hatred, and contempt of 
God« death, hell, and the judgment, and the deserved 
wrath of God. Of this use, the Apostle treateth notably 
in the seventh to the Romans. This is altogether un- 
known to hypocrites, to the Popish sophisters, and 
scbool-di vines ; and to all tliat walk in the opinion of 



order. Let the sun shine by day, and the moon and stan 
by night Let the sea give fishes ; the earth grain; the 
woods wild beasts and trees, &c. In like manner let not 
the law usurp the office and use of another ; that is to 
say of justification : but let it leave this only to craoe^ 
to the promise, and to faith. What is then the office df 
the law? — Transgressions. Or else (as he saith in another 
place,) " The law entered that sin should abound.'* A 
goodly office forsooth ! ^^ The law (saith he) was added 
because of transgressions : " that is to say, it was added 
besides and after the promise, until Christ, the ^^ seed,** 
should come unto whom it whom it was promised. 


Here you must understand, that there is a douUe 
use of the law. One is civil. For God hath ordained 
civil laws, yea, aU laws, to punish transgressions. Eveiy 
law then is given to restrain sin. If it restrain sin, theiH 
it maketh men righteous ! — No ! nothing less ! For in 
that I do not kill, I do not commit adultery, I do not 
steal ; or, in that I abstain from other sins, I do it not , 
willingly, or for the love of virtue, but I fear the prison^ 
the sword, and the hangman. These do bridle and re- 
strain me that I sin not; as bonds and chains restrain '^ 
a lion or a bear, that he tear and devour not every thing > 
that he meeteth. Therefore, the restraining firom sin I 
is not righteousness, but rather, a signification of un-, ^ 
righteousness. For as a mad or wild b^t is bound, lest 
he should destroy every thing that he meeteth ; even ao^ 
the law doth bridle a mad and furious man, that he abt 
not after his own lust. This restraint sheweth plainhf 
enough, that they which have need of the law (as afi 
they have which are without Christ,) are not ri^teoos; 
but rather, wicked and mad men ; whom it is necessarps 
by the bonds and prison of the law, so to bridle, tfattt 
they sin not. — ^Therefore, the law jusUfieth not ! 

The first use then of the law is, to bridle the wicked* 
For the devil reigneth throughout the whole world, and 
enforceth men to all kinds of horrible wickedness. Theie- 


For that mighty rock and adamant wad, to 
wit, ibe opinion of righteousness wherewith the heart 
IS environed, doth resist it. 

As tJierefore, the opinion of righteousness is a great 
and horrible monster ; a rebellious^ obstinate, and stifi- 
lecfced beast; so, for the destroying and overthrowing 
dMveof^ God hath need of a mighty hammer^ that is to 
«, Ae law; which then is in his proper use and office, 
vnea it accuseth and revealeth sins after this sort — Be- 
hold ! thou hast transgressed all the commandments of 
God, &c- ! And so, it striketh terror into the conscience, 
j$a that it feeleth God to be offended and angry indeed, 
Ukd itself to te guilty of eternal death. Here the poor 
ifflicted sinner feeletli the intolerable burthen of the law, 
aild is beat down even to desperation ; so that now, 
Uag oppressed with great anguish and terror, he de- 
unm death, or else seeketh to destroy himself. Where* 
fcre, the law is that hammer, that fire, that mighty strong 
void, and that terrible earthquake, rending the moun- 
and breaking the rocks ; that is to say, the proud 
obstinate hypocrites* EHas, not being able to abide 
lerrors of the law, which by these things are signi- 
ied, covered his face with his mantle. Notwithstanding, 
the tempest ceased of which he was a beholder, 
came a soft and gracious wind, in which the Lord 
But it behoved, that the tempest of fire, of wind, 
the eartliquake should pass, before the Lord should 
nnr^ himself in that gracious wind. 

This terrible show and majesty, wherein God gave 
bis law in Mount Sinai, did represent the use of the 
law. There was in the people of Israel which came out 
of Egypt, a singular holiness. They gloried and said, 
* We are the people of God ; we will do all those things 
a HLh the Lord our God liath commanded/* Moreover, 
Moses did sanctify the people, and bade them wash thei^ 
ffaaentSf refrain from their wives, and prepare them- 
aibcs against the tliird day. There was not one of them 
bot be was full of holiness. The third day, Moses bring- 
cdi the people out of their tents to the mountain unto 
rile u^t of the Lord, that they might hear his voice, 


What followed then ?— When the children of Israd did 
behold the horrible sight of the mount smoking and 
burning, the black clouds, and the lightnings flashing 
up and down in this horrible darkness, and heard the 
sound of the trumpet blowing long and waxine louder 
and louder ; and moreover, when mey heard the than- 
derings and lightnings, they Were afraid, and standing 
afar off, they said, ^ Moses, we will do all things wil-, 
lingly, so that the Lord speak not unto us, lest iSat we 
die, and this great fire consume us. Teach thou us, and 
we will hearken unto thee.' I pray you what did their 
purifying, their holiness, their white garments, and re- 
fraining from their wives, profit them ? Nothing at all ! 
There was not one of them that could abide this pre- 
sence of the Lord in his majesty and glory. But all 
being amazed and shaken with terror, fled back as if 
they had been driven by the devil. For God is a con- 
suming fire ; in whose sight, no flesh is able to stand. 

The law of God, therefore, hath properly and peca- 
liarly that office, which it had then in Mount Sinai when 
it was first given, and was first heard of them that were 
washed, rignteous, purified, and chaste : and yet, not- 
withstanding, it brought that holy people into such a 
knowledge of their own misery, that they were thrown 
down even to death and desperation. No purity nor 
holiness could then help them ; but there was in them 
such a feeling of their own uncleanness, unworthiness, 
and sin, and of the judgment and wrath of God, that 
they fled from the sight of the Lord, and could not abide 
to hear his voice. ** What flesh was there ever (say theyO 
that heard the voice of the living God speaking out of 
the midst of the fire, and yet lived ? This day nave we 
seen that God talketh with man, and yet he liveth." 
They speak now far othenvise than they did a little be- 
fore, when they said, * We are the holy people of God, 
whom the Lord hath chosen for his own peculiar people 
before all nations upon the earth. We will do all things 
which the Lord hath spoken.' So it happeneth at lengm 
to all justiciaries ; who, being drunken with the opinion 
of their own righteousness, do think, when they are out 

P ^ 817 

of temptation, that they are beloved of God, and that 
God regardeth their vows, their fastings, their prayers, 
iDd their will-works ; and that, for the same he must 
give UDto .them a singular crown in heaven. But when 
that thonderingi lightning, and fire, and that hammer 
which breaketh in pieces the rocks, that is to say, the 
hw of God, Cometh suddenly upon them, revealing unto 
&em their sin, the wrath and judgment of God ; then, 
the sdf-same thing happeneth unto them which hap- 
peoed to the Jews standing at the foot of Mount Sinai. 
Here, I admonish all such as fear God, and espe- 
cially all such as shall become teachers of others here- 
after, that they diligently learn out of Paul to under- 
hand the true and proper use of the law ; which, I fear, 
ifter our time, will be trodden under foot, and utterly 
abolished, by the enemies of tlie truth. For even now, 
•hiist we are yet living, and employ all our diligence to 
set forth the office and use both of the Law and the Gos- 
pd, there be very few, yea, even among those which 
»iU be accounted Christians, and make a profession of 
tlie Gospel with us, that understand these things riglitly 
ami as they should do. What think ye then shall come 
lo piiss^ w hen we are dead and gone ? I speak nothing 
fif the Anabaptists, of the new Arians, and such other 
flio spirits, who are no less ignorant of these matters 
ihati are the Papists, although they take never so much 
to the contrary. For they are revolted from the pure 
doctrioe of the Gospel, to laws and traditions ; and 
therefore, they teach not Christ. They brag and they 
sir ear, that they teach nothing else but the glory of 
Christ, and the salvation of their brethren ; and that 
ibey teach the Word of God purely. But, in very deed, 
tbey corrupt it and wrest it to another sense ; so that 
ibey toake it to sound according to their own imagina- 
tioQ. Therefore, under the name of Chris^t, they teach 
Dothtng else but their own dreams; and under the name 
of Gospel, ceremonies, and laws. They are like, there- 
fore, unto themselves, and so they still continue; that is 
lo say, monks, workers of the law, ;and teachers of cere- 


monies ; saving that, they devise new names atid new 

It is no small matter then to undei^tand rightly 
what the law is, and what is the true use and office dieteof. 
And forasmuch as we teach these things both diligently 
and faithfully, we do thereby plainly testiiy, that we re- 
ject not the law and works (as our adversaries do falsely 
accuse us), but we do altogether establish the law and 
require the works thereof: and we say, that the law is 
good and profitable, but in his own proper use : which 
is, first to bridle civil transgressions : and then, to reveal 
and to increase spiritual transgressions. Wherefore, the 
law is also a light which sheweth and revealeth, not the 
grace of God, nor righteousness and life, but sin and 
death, and the wrath and judgment of God. For as in 
the Mount Sinai the thundering and li^tning, the thick 
and dark cloud, the hill smoking and flaming, and all 
that terrible show, did not rejoice nor quicken the chil- 
dren of Israel, but terrified and astonished them, and 
.shewed how unable they were with all their purity and 
holiness to abide the majesty of God speaking to them 
out of the cloud ; even so, the law, when it is in his true 
use, doth nothing else but reveal sin, engender wrath, 
and accuse and terrify men; so that it bringeth them to 
the very brink of desperation. This is the proper use of 
the law, and here it hath an end, and it ought to go no 

Contrariwise, the Gospel, is a light which lighteneth, 
quickeneth, comforteth, and raiseth up fearful con- 
sciences. For it sheweth, that God, for Christ's sake, is 
merciful unto sinners, yea, and to such as are most ui- 
worthy, if they believe, that by his death, they are deli- 
vered from the curse ; that is to say, from sin and ever- 
lasting death ; and that, through his victory, the blessing 
is freely given unto them ; that is to say, grace, fomve^ 
ness of sins, righteousness, and everlasting life! Thus, 
putting a difference between the Law and the Gospel, 
we give to them both their own proper use and office. 
Of this difference between the Law and the Gospel, 


there is nothing to be found in the books of the monks^J 

caiKmists, schoolmen, no, nor in the books of the snA 

oioiit Fathers. Augustine did somewhat understand this I 

ilffin^ence, and shewed it. Jerom, and others, knew it J 

Ml. Briefly, there svbs wonderful silence many years^t 

m tODching this difference, in all schools and churches^j 

Add this brought men's consciences into great danger.'! 

For anless the Gospel be plainly discerned from 

Uw, the true Christian doctrine cannot be kept sounc 

_mA uncomipt. Contrariwise, if this difference be welli 

owo, then is also the true manner of justificatiorfj 

!iwQ ; and then, it is an easy matter to discern faitli4 

from works, and Christ from Moses and all political] 

torks. For all things, without Christ, are the minister 

(if death for the punishing of the wicked. Therefore,^ 

Piol answereth to tliis question after tins manner. 

VERSE 19. 
The Law was added because of transgressiom. 

That is to say, that the transgressions might increase 
and be more known and seen. And indeed so it cometh 
Ui pass: For when sin, death, the wrath and judg- 
fflenl of God, and hell, are revealed to a man through 
Ae Law, it is impossible but that he should become im- 
pfttienl, and murmur against God and despise his will. 
For he cannot bear the judgment of God and his own 
death and damnation ; and yet, notwithstanding, he 
Qinnol escape them. Here, he must needs fall into ha- 
tred of God, and bhtsphemy against God, Before, when 
be Htis out of temptation, he was a very holy man ; he 
won^hipped and praised God ; he'^lmwed his knee before 
Gnd, and gave him thanks, as the pharisee did, Luke 
iViii. But now, when sin and death is revealed unto 
him, he wisheth that there were no God, The law, there- 
fore» of itself bringeth a special hatred of God* And 
Ihus, sin is not only revealed and known by the Law, 
but also, is increased and stirred up by the Law. There- 
fore, Paul saith, Rom. vii. " Sin, tliat it might appear 
lin, wrought death in me by that which was good ; that 


sin might be out of measure sinful by the comnumdment*' 
There he treateth of this effect of the law yeiy laiKely. 

Paul answereth therefore to this question. If tnelaw 
do not justify, to what end doth it serve ? Although, saith 
he, it justify not, yet it is very profitable and neoessaiy. 
For first, it civilly restraineth such as are carnal, rebel- 
lious, and obstinate. Moreover, it is a glass that shew- 
eth unto a man himself: that he is a sinner guil^ of 
death, and worthy of God's everlasting wrath and indig- 
nation. To what end serveth this humbling, this bruising 
and beating down by this hammer, (the law I mean)? To 
this end^ that we may have an entrance into grace. So 
then, the law is a minister that prepareth the way unto 
grace. For God is the God of the humble, the misera- 
ble, the afflicted, the oppressed, and the desperate ; and 
of those that are brought even to nothing. And his nar 
ture is, to exalt the humble, to feed the hungry, to give 
sight to the blind, to comfort the miserable, the afflicted, 
the bruised and broken-hearted, to justify sinners, to 
quicken the dead, and to save the very desperate and 
damned. For he is an almighty Creator, making aU 
things of nothing. Now, that pernicious and pestilent 
opinion of man's own righteousness, which will m>t be a 
sinner unclean, miserable, and damnable, but righteooa 
and holy, suffereth not God to come to his own natural 
and proper work. Therefore, God mhst needs take his 
maul in hand, (the law I mean), to drive down, to beat 
in pieces, and to bring to nothing, this beast with her 
vain confidence, wisdom, righteousness, and power: 
that she may so learn at the length her own miseiy 
and mischief, and that she is utterly forlorn, lost, and 
damned. Here now, when the conscience is thus terri- 
fied with the law, then cometh the doctrine of the 
Gospel and grace, which raiseth up and comforteth the 
same again, saying, ^ Christ came into the world, not 
to break the bruised reed, nor to quench the smoking 
flax, but to preach the Gospel of glad tidings to the 
poor, to heal the broken and contrite in heart, to 
preach forgiveness of sins to the captives,' &c. 

But here lieth all the difficulty of this matter : — that, 


vben the man is terrified and cast down^ he may be able 
Id nuse up himself again, and say, * Now I am bruised 
tad afflicted enough: the time of the law hath tormented 
mt and vexed me enough : now is tlie time of grace : 
Btm' is the time to hear Christ, out of whose mouth pro- 
oeeti the words of grace and life* Now is the time to 
sec, not the smoking and burning Mount Sinai, but the 
MoiiQt Moriah, where is the throne, the temple, the 
mercy -seal of God ; that is to say, Christ, who is the 
King of righteousness and peace. There will I hearken 
wfcat the Lord speaketh unto me, who speaketh nothing 
eke but peace unto his people/ 

Nay, the foolishness of man*s heart is so great, that, 
in this conflict of conscience, when the law hath done 
hit office and exercised his true ministry, he doth not 
only not lay hold upon the doctrine of grace, which pro- 
ith most assuredly the forgiveness of sins for Christ's 
but aeeketh and procureth to himself more laws to 
antisfy and quiet his conscience, * If I live (saith he) I 
will amend my life, I will do this, I will do that.' Here, 
except thou do quite the contrary; that is to say, except 
thou send Moses away with his law to those that are 
, proud, and obstinate, and, in these terrors, and 
ftnguish, lay hold upon Christ who was crucified 
died for thy sins, look for no salvation ! 
So the law by his office helpeth, by occasion, to jus- 
tification ; in that it driveth a man to the promise of 
and maketh the law sweet and comfortable unto 
Wherefore we do not abrogate the law, but we 
the true office and use of the law ; to wit, that it is 
m true and profitable minister, which driveth a man to 
Christ. Therefore, after that the law hath humbled thee, 
lemfied thee, and utterly beaten thee down, so that now 
them art at the very brink of desperation, see that thou 
team how to use the law rightly. For the office and use 
of it is, not only to reveal sin and the wrath of God, but 
yso, to drive men unto Christ. This use of the law, the 
Holy Ghost only setteth forth in the Gospel ; where he 
vitnesseth. that God is present unto the afflicted and 
bfoken^hearted* Wherefore, if thou be bruised with this 

^^'^ ''^^^ 

hammer, use not this bruising perversely^ ao that thou 
load thyself with more laws, but hear Christ, saying 
^'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, 
and I will refresh you." When the law ao oppressedi 
thee that all things seem to be utterly desperate, and 
thereby driveth thee unto Christ to seek help and sue- 
cour at his hands, then is the law in his true use : and, 
through the Gospel, it helpeth to justificati(». And thu 
is the best and most proper use of the law. 

Wherefore, Paul here beginneth afresh to treat of 
the law, and defineth what it is, taking occasion of that 
which he said before ; to wit, that the law jufltifieth not 
For reason, hearing this, by and by doth thas in&r : — 
Then God gave the law in vain. It was necessary, there- 
fore, to seek how to de6ne the law truly, and to shew 
what the law is, and how it ou^t to be understood; 
that it be not taken more largely, or more straitly, than 
it should be. * There is no Taw (saith he,) that is ci it- 
self necessary unto justification.' Therefore, when 
reason as touching ri^biteousness, life, and eve 
salvation, the law must be utterly removed oat of 
sight, as if it had never been or never should be, bat as 
though it were nothing at all. For, in the matter of j«a^ 
tification, no man can remove the law £bu: enoo^ out of 
his sight, or behold the only promise of God as he shoidd 
do. Therefore, I said before, that the law and the pro- 
mise must be separate far asunder as toudiing the ■»- 
ward affections and inward man, albeit indeed they^ am 
nearly joined together. 



But before faith camCj we were under the laWf shut 
up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 

This is to say, that before the time of the Gospd 
and girace came, the office of the law was, that we 
should be shut and kept under the same, as it were, in 
prison. This is a goodly and a fit similitude, shewiBg 


[♦ of the law, and how righteou& it maketh 

^BErefore, it is diligently to be weighed. No thief, 

00 murderer, no adulterer or other malefactor loveth the 

dyuas and fetters, and the dark and loathsome prison 

therein he lieth fast bound ; but rather, if he could, he 

would beat and break into powder the prison with his 

woos find fetters. Indeed^ while he is in prison, he re- 

feuneth from doing evil ; but not of a good w ill, or for 

nghteousckess sake, but because the prison restraineth 

iimi that he cannot do it And now, being fast fettered^ 

he hateth not his theft and his murder, (yea, he is sorry 

with all his heart that he cannot rob and steal, cut and 

day^) but he hateth the prison ; and if he should escape, 

be would rob wd kill as he did before, 


Such is tl>e force of the law, and the righteousness 
that Cometh of the law ; compeUing us to be outwardly 
good, when it threateneth death or any other punish- 
ment to the transgressors thereof. Here we obey the law 
indeed, but for fear of punishment; that is unwillingly, 
ttod with great indignation* But what righteousness is 
tim, when we abstain from evil for fear of punishment ? 
lilTierefore, this righteousness of works is indeed nothing 
elfie but to love sin and to hate righteousness ; to detest 
God witli his law, and to love and reverence that winch 
» most horrible and abominable. For look how heartily 
the thief loveth the prison and hateth his theft : so 
^adly do we obey the law in accomplishing that which 
il commandeth, and avoiding that which it forbiddeth. 

Notwithstanding, this truit and this profit the law 
bfifigeth, although men's hearts remain never so wicked^ 
— that first, ouiwardly and civilii/^ after a sort, it re- 
stmineth thieves, murderers, and other malefactors. 
For if they did not see and understand that sin is pu- 
Bisbed in tnis Ufe by imprisonment, by the gallows, by 
Ibm sword, and such-like ; and, after tliis life, with eter- 
wl damnation and hell-fire; no magistrate should be able 
to bridle the fory and rage of men by any laws, bonds, 




or chains. But the threatenings of the law strike a 
terror into the hearts of the wicked, whereby they are 
bridled, after a sort, that they run not headlong, as 
otherwise they would do, into all kinds of wickedness. 
Notwithstanding, they would rather that there were no 
law, no punishment, no hell ; and finally, no Grod. . If 
God had no hell, or did not punish the wicked, he should 
be loved and praised of all men.- But because he pu- 
nisheth the wicked, and all are wicked ; therefore, inas- 
much as they are shut under the law, they can do no 
otherwise but mortally hate and blaspheme God. 

Furthermore, the law shutteth men under sin, not 
only civilly, but also spiritually ; that is to say, the law 
is also a spiritual prison, and a very hell. For when it 
revealeth sin, and threateneth death and the eternal 
judgment of God, a man cannot avoid it, nor find any 
comfort. For it is not in the power of man to shake off 
these horrible terrors which the law stirreth up in the 
conscience, or any other anguish or bitterness of spirit 
Hereof come these lamentable complaints of saints 
which are every where in the Psalms : " In hell who 
shall confess tliee?" &c. Ps. vi. 5. For then is a man 
shut up in prison ; out of which he cannot escape, n(A 
seeth how he may be delivered out of these bonds; 
that is to say, these terrible terrors. 

Thus, the law is a prison both civilly and spiri-* 
tually. For first, it restraineth and shutteth up the 
wicked, that they run not headlong according to thdr 
own lust into all kinds of mischief. Again, it sheweth 
unto us, spiritually, our sin, and terrifietn and humbleth 
us ; that when we are so terrified and humbled, we may 
learn to know our own misery and condemnation. And 
this is the true and the proper use of the law, so that it 
be not perpetual. For this shutting and holding under 
the law, must endure no longer but until the faith come; 
and when faith cometh, then must this spiritual prison 
have his end. 

Here again we see, that although the law and the 
gospel be separate far asunder, yet, as touching the 
inward affections, they are very nearly joined the one 



with the other. This Paul sheweth when he saith, *' w6 

'•ere kept under the law, and shut up unto the faith 

^bich should be reveaJed unto us." Wherefore it is not 

noogh that ue are shut under the law ; for if notliing 

(be should follow, we should he driven to desperation, 

and die in our sins. Hut Pauladdeth, moreover, that we 

im «ihut up, and kept under a schoolinaster (which is the 

kw,) not for ever, but to bring us unto Christ, m ho is 

ibe end of the law. Therefore, this terrifyin<^, this 

llaiiibling, and this shutting up, must not ahvays conti- 

Doe^ but only until taith be revealed ; that is, it shall so 

long continue as shall be for our protit and our salva- 

tioi] : so tiiat when we are cast down and humbled by 

iba law, then grace, remission of sins, deliverance from 

ibe law, sin, and death, may become sweet unto us : 

which are not obtained by works, but are received by 

t^ith alone* 

He which, in time of temptation, can join these two 

together, so repugnant and contrary ; that is to 

Hhtch, t\hen he is thoroughly terrified and cast 

down l>v the law, doth know iliat the end of the law and 

the beginning of grace, or of faith to be revealed, is now 

come, u^eUi the law rightly. All the wicked are utterly 

ignorant of this know led i^e, and this cunning. Cain 

knew it not, when lie was shut up in the law ; that is, he 

fiell no terror, although he had now killed liis brother ; 

bat disisembied the matter craftily, and thought that 

God was ignorant thereof. " Am I my brothers 

keeper?*' saith lie. But when he heard this word, 

** Wlittt hast thou done : liehokl the voice of the blood 

frfiliy brother crieth unto me from the earth,'' (Gen. iv. 

9t) he l>egan to feel this prison indeed. What did he 

Htmnr He remained still shut up in prison, lie joined 

iol die Gospel with the law, but said, " My punish- 

flmii ! iter than I can bear,'' verse 13* lie only 

npe* :> prison, not considering that his sin was re- 

*»icd unto him for this end, that he should fly unto 

God for mercy ami pardon. Therefore, he despaired and 

deoted (iod* He beiitved not that he was shut up to 

Ibb end, that grace an<l faith might be revealed unto 



him : but only, that he should still remaia in the prison 
of the law. 

These words, *' to be kept under, and to be shut up/' 
are not vain and unprofitable, but most true and of 
great importance. This keeping under, and this prison^ 
signifieth the true and spiritual terror, whereby die con- 
science is so shut up, that, in the wide world, it can find 
no place where it may be in safety. Yea, as long as these 
terrors endure, the conscience feeleth such anguish and 
sorrow, that it thinketh heaven and earth, yea, if tbey 
were ten times more wide and large than they are, to 
be straiter and narrower than a mouse-hole. Here is a 
man utterly destitute of all wisdom, strength, righteom- 
ness, counsel, and succour. For the conscience is a mar* 
vellous tender thing, and therefore when it is so shut up 
under the prison of the law, it seeth no way how to g^ 
out ; and this straitness seemeth only so to increase, as 
though it would never have an end. For then doth it fed 
the wrath of God, which is infinite and inestimably 
whose hand it cannot escape, as the lS9th Psalm wit- 
nesseth : " Whither shall I fly from thy presence,*' &c. 
Like as therefore this worldly prison, or shutting up, is 
a bodily affliction, and he that is so shut up can have 
no use of his body ; even so, the trouble and anguish of 
mind is a spiritual prison, and he that is shut up in diis 
prison, cannot enjoy the quietness of heart, and peace of 
conscience. And yet, it is not so for ever, (as reason 
judgeth when it feeleth this prison) but until faith be re* 
v^led. The silly conscience, therefore, must be raised 
up, and comforted after this sort. * Brother, thou art in- 
deed shut up ; but persuade thyself that this is not done 
to the end diat thou shouldest remain in this prison for 
ever.' For it is written, " that we are shut up, unto the 
faith which shall be revealed." Thou art then afilicted in 
this prison, not to thy destruction, but that thou mayest 
be refreshed by the blessed seed. Thou art killed by the 
law, that, through Christ, thou mayest be quickened 
again and restored to life. Despair not therefore, as 
Cain, Saul, and Judas did ; who, being thus shut up, 
looked no farther but to their dark prison, and there 


laiDed : llicrefore they despaired* But thou must 

mnolher way in these terrors of conscience than 

ihev did ; that is, thou must Icnow that it is well done, 

ud good fcir thee to be be so shut up, confounded, and 

brought ^ Miis;. Use, therefore, this shutting up 

h^btiy, a shouhlest do ; that is, to the end that 

vm the law hath done his office, faith may be reveaiedl 

For God doth not therefore afflict thee, that thou 

shouldest still remain in this affliction. He will not kill 

thee that thou shouldest abide in death, ** I will not the 

death of a sinner, &c." (saith he by the prophet Ezekiel, 

chap* xxxiii. 1 1 ;) but he will afflict thee, that so thou 

mmyest be huml)ied, and know that thou hast need of 

m' nd the benefit of Christ 

holding in prison, then, under the law, must 

iiol always endure^ but must only continue to the continj^ 

<ir 'imraalinii ni faitli; which this sweet verse of the Psalm 

cknh teach us; '^ the Lord deligbteth in those that fear 

him :" (Pgalm cxivii, 1 1,) that is to say, which are in 

f lt tem * under the law. But by-and-by after be addetli, 

** and m those that attend upon his mercy." Therefore, 

OMMt join these two things together; whichj indeed, 

as contrary the one to the other as may be. For 

cao lje more contrary, than to hate and abhor the 

viathnfGod; and again, to trust in his goodness and 

Wftrcy. The one is hell, the other is heaven: and yet, 

tkey roust 4w? nearly joined together in the heart By 

spacolation and naked knowledge, a man may easily join 

* r; hut by experience and inward praotice 

^ 1^ „ . 1 all things it is the hardest; which 1 mysdf 

liaire often proved by my own experience. ()f tfcSfe 

matter ihe papists and sectaries know nothing at ail. 

Thetiet'ore, these wrwdfi of Paul are to them obscut^e and 

iho^elher unknown ; and when the law revealeth unto 

them their siiv and -acxuseth and terrifieth them, they 

can find no council, no rest, no help, no succour; but 

Ul to desperation, as Cain and> Saul did. 

Seeing the law, therefore (as it is said) is our tor- 
■sentor and our prison, certain it is that we cannot lote 
k, \m\ hate iL He therefoni that saith he loveth the law, 





is a liar, and knoweth not what he sailh. A thief and a 
robber should shew himself stark mad, that would love 
the prison, the fetters, and chains. Seeing then the law 
^hutteth us up, and hoideth us in prison, it cannot be, 
but we must needs be extreme enemies to the law. To 
conclude, so well we love the law and the righteousness 
thereof, as a murderer ioveth the dark prison, the strait 
bonds, and irons. How then should the law justify as ! 

VERSE 23. 

And shut up unto the faith which should after be 

This Paul speaketh, in respect of the fulness of the 
time wherein Christ came. But we must apply it not only 
to that time, but also to tlie inward man. For (hat which 
is done as an history, and according to the time wherein 
Christ came, abolishing the law and bringing liberty and 
eternal life to light, is always done, spiritually, in eveiy 
Christian : in wnom is found, Continually, somewhile the 
time of the law, and somewhile the time of grace. For 
the Christian man hath a body, in whose members (as 
Paul saith in another place) sin dwelleth and warreth. 
Now, I understand sin to be, not only the deed or die 
work, but also the root and the tree, together with the 
fruits (as the scripture useth to speak of sin.) Which is 
yet, not only rooted in the baptised flesh of eveiy 
Christian, but al^ is at deadly war within it, and 
hoideth it captive : if not to give consent unto it, or to 
accomplish the work, yet doth it force him mistily 
thereunto. For dbeit a Christian man do not fall into 
outward and gross sins, as murder, adultery, theft, and 
such like ; yet, he is not free from impatiency, murmnr- 
ings, halting, and blaspheming of God ; which sins, to 
reason and the carnal man, are altogether unknown. 
These things constrain him, yea, sore against his will, to 
detest the law ; they compel him to fly from the pre* 
sence of God ; they compel him to hate and blasplieme 
<jrod. For, as carnal lust i& strong in a young man, in a 
man of full age the desire and love of glory, and in an 


oiti man covetousoess ; even so, in a holy and faithful 
8iao« impatiency, murmuring, hatred and blasphemy 
against God, do mightily prevail Examples hereof 
tbeve are many in the Psalms, in Job, in Jeremy^ 
Hid throughout the whole scripture. Paul, therefore, 
describing and setting forth this spiritual warfare, useth 
wery vehement words, and fit for the purpose; as of 
fitting, rebelling, holding and leading captive, &c. 

Both these times then (of the law and gospel I mean) 

ste in a Christian, as touching the affections and inward 

man. The time of the law, is, when the law exerciseth 

me^ tonnenteth me with heaviness of heart, oppresseth 

me, bringeth me tu the know ledge of sin, and increaseth 

the same. Here the law is in his true and perfect work, 

^rhich a Christian oftentimes feeleth as long as he 

liweth« So there was given unto Paul a prick in the 

Aeab; that is, '* die angel of Satan to buti'et him,'' 

(a Cor* xii. 7.) He would gladly have felt every mo- 

ment the joy of conscience, the laughter of the heart, 

wmd the sweet taste of eternal lite. Again, he would 

^adly have been delivered from all trouble and anguish 

of spirit ; and therefore, he desired that this temptation 

t be taken from him* Notvvithstanding, this was 

done, but the Lord said unto him, *' My grace is 

asfficient for thee, for my power is made perfect through 

ipeakness,** (2 Con xii. 9.) This battle doth every Chris- 

tial feel- To speak of myself, there are many hours in the 

irflich I chide and contend with Ciod, and impattentiy 

fwst him. The wrath and judgment of God displeaseth 

aie; and again, my impatiency, my murmuring^ and 

iDcb like sins do displease him. And this is the time of 

ihe law; under which, a Christion man continually 

INmb^ as touching the flesh, " For the flesh lusteth con- 

tinuaUy ag;ainst the spirit, and the spirit against the 

flesk,"" (Gal, v. 17,) but in some more, and in some less. 

The time of grace is, when the heart is raised up 

igain by the promise of the free mercy of God, and 

saith, " Why art thou heavy, O my soul, and why dost 

ttkou trouble me?'' (Psalm xlii. 5, 11.) Dost thou see 

nothit^ but the law, sin, terror, heaviness, desperation, 


death, hell, and the devil ? Is there not also grace, remis- 
sion of' sins, ri§^teoa&ness, consolation, joy, peace, life, 
Wven, Christ and God ? Trouble me no more, O my 
soul. 'What is the law, what is sin, what are all evils, in 
comparison of these things? Trust in God who hath not 
spared his own dear Son, but hath given him to the 
(Seath of the cross for thy sins. This is then to be shut 
up under the law after the flesh ; not for ever, but till 
Christ be revealed. Therefore, when thou art beaten 
down, t6nnented and afflicted by the law, then say. Lady 
IjBtw, thou art not alone, neither art thou all things ; but 
besides thee, there are yet other things, much greater 
ttid ' better than thou art ; namely, grace, faith, and 
blessing. This grace, this faith, and this blessing do not 
accuse me, terrify me, condemn me ;• but they comfort 
me, they bid me trust in the Lord, and promise unto me 
victory and salvation in Christ. There is no cause there- 
fore why I should despair. 

He that is skilful in this art and this cunning, may 
indeed be called a right divine. The fantastical spirits 
and their disciples, at this day, which continually brag 
of the spirit, do persuade themselves that they are very 
expert and cunning therein. But I, and such as I ain, 
have scarcely learned the first principles thereof. It is 
karned^ indeed, but as long as the flesh and sin do ien* 
dure, it can never be perfectly learned, as it should be. 
So then a Christian is divided into two times. In that 
he is flesh, he is under the law ; in that he is spirit, be 'is 
under grace. Concupiscence, ccrvetousness, ambition, 
and pride, do always cleave to the flesh ; also ignorance, 
eontempt of God, impatiency, murmuring and grudging 
against God, because he hindereth and breaketh oflf onr 
counsels^ our devices and enterprises; and because he 
speedily^ punisheth not such as are wicked, rebellious, 
and contemptuous persons, &c. Such manner of sins are 
rooted in the flesh of the faithful. Wherefore, if thou 
behold nothing but the flesh, thou shalt abide ulways 
under the time of the law. liut these days must be 
shortened, or else no flesh should be saved. The la«r 
must have his time appointed, wherein it must have his 


cud* The time of tlie law, therefore^ is not perpetiial, but 
hath his end ; which end, is Jesus Christ. But the time 
of grace is eternal. For ** Christ beinj^ once dead dieth 
DO more/' (Rom. vi, 9) He is eternal : therefore, the 
time also of grace is eternal. 

Such notable sentences in Paul, we may not lightly 
pass over, as the Papists and sectaries are wont to do. 
For tbey contain words of life, which do wonderfully 
oomfort and confirm afflicted consciences ; and they 
vtzich know and understand them well, can judge of 
faith ; they can discern a true fear from a false fear; and 
ibcy can judge of all inward aftections of the heart, and 
dbcem all spirits. The fear of God is an holy and a 
pracious thing, but it must not always continye. Indeed, 
it ought always to be in a Christian, because sin is 
itways in him ; but it must not be alone, for then it is 
the fear of Cain, Saul, and Judas ; that is to say, a ser* 
file and a desperate fear. A Christian, therefore, must 
mnquish fear by faith in the word of grace. lie must 
lam away his eyes from the time of the law, and look 
inlo Christ, and unto the faith whicli is to be revealed, 
Uae beginneth fear to be sweet unto ns, and maketh us 
to delight in God. For if a man do only behold the law 
and sin, setting faith aside, he shall never be able to put 
iiray fear ; but shall at length fall to desperation. 

Thus doth Paul very well distinguish the time of the 
kw and grace. Let us also learn rightly to distinguish 
tliem both ; not in words^ but in the inward atlertion^ 
vllich is a very hard matter P'or albeit these two things 
lie sefiarate far asunder, yet they are most nearly joined 
together in one hearL Nothing is joined more nearly 
Inp-fhrr than fear and trust, than the law and the 
gUpel, than sin and grace, I' or they are so united to- 
gptber^ that tlie one is swallowed up of the other* Where- 
Som there is no conjunction like unto this. 

At this place, ** Wherefore then serveth the law," 
Paul began to dispute of the law, and also of the use and 
ftbase ' f; taking occasion of that \\hich before he 
hMd ai , — that the faithful do obtain righteousness 

by grace only, and by the promise, and not by the kw. 


UpoD that disputation rose this question^ ** Wherefore 
then serveth the law ?" For reason, hearing that righte- 
ousness, or the blessing, is obtained by grace, and by the 
promise, by-and-by inferreth, — then the law protiteth 
nothing. Wherefore, the doctrine of the law must be 
diligendy considered ; that we may know, what and how 
we ought to judge thereof," lest that, either we reject 
tlie same altogether, as the fantastical spirits do, (which 
in the year a thousand five hundred and tMenty-five, 
stirring up the rustical people to sedition, said, that the 
liberty of the Gospel giveth freedom to all men from all 
manner of laws ;) or else, lest we should attribute the 
force of justification to the law. For both sorts do offend 
against the law ; the one on the right hand, which will 
he justified by the law, and the other on the left hand, 
which will be clean delivered from the law. We must 
therefore keep the highway, so that we neitlier reject the 
law, nor attribute more unto it than we ought to do. 

That which I have before so often repeated concern- 
ing both the uses of the law, namely, the civil and the 
spiritual use, do sufficiently declare, that the law is not 
given for the righteous ; but, (as Paul saith in another 
place,) for the unrighteous and rebellious. Now, of the 
unrighteous, there are two sorts'; that is to say, they 
which are to be justified, and they which are not to te 
justified. They which are not to be justified, must be 
bridled by the civil use of the law : for they must lie 
bound with the bonds of the law, as savage and un- 
tamed beasts are bound with cords and chains. This 
use of the law hath no end ; and of this Paul here 
speaketh nothing. But they that are to be justified, are 
exercised with the spiritual use of the law for a time, for 
it doth not always continue as the civil use of the law 
doth, but it looketh to faith which is to be revealed ; 
and when Christ cometh, it shall have its end. Hereby-^ 
w.e may plainly see, that all the sentences u herein Paul 
treateth of the spiritual use of the law, must be under- 
stood of those which arc to be justified, and not of those 
which are justified already. For they which are justified 
already, inasmuch as they abide in Christ, are far above 


illlar. The law then must be laid upon those that are 
to be fti^tifieii, t^ ' v may be shut up in the prison 
tberciif. imtil the i^, asness of faith come. Not that 
they attain this righteousness through the law, (for that 
•we not to \i ' law rightly, but to abuse it;) but 

thai, when the^ cast down and humbled l)y the law, 

they should fly unto Christ, ** who is the emi of the law 
to righteousness, to every one that believeth," (Rom* 

Now, the abusers of the law, are, first ot all, die jus- 
ticiaries and hypocrites, which dream that men are jus- 
tified by the law. For that use of the law, doth not ex- 
frdse and drive a man to faith which is to be revealed, 
Ihii it maketh careless, arrogant hypocrites, swelling and 
presuanng of the righteousness of the law, and hinderetli 
the righteousness of faith. Secondly, they abuse the law% 
iluch will utterly exempt a Christian miin from the 
law; as the brain-sick Anabaptists went about to do, 
iluch was the oocasion that they raised up that sedition 
of the mstical people* Of this sort, there are very many 
also at this day which profess the Gospel widi us; who, 
beins delivered from the tyranny of the Pope by the 
ifactrine of the Gospel, do dream, that the Cliristian li- 
limy i^ a dissolute and a carnal liberty to do whatsoever 
ikey liftt- These (as Peter saith, 1 Epist, ii. 16,) have the 
Hberty of the Spirit as a cloak of maliciousness, through 
»lich the name of God and the Gospel of Christ is 
llttKlered every where ; and therefore, they shall once 
mflfer worthy punishment for this dieir ungodliness* 
Thirdly, such do also abuse the law, who, feeling the 
IfirmrB thereof, do not understand that such terrors 
ought no longer to continue but unto Christ, This 
lAmfie in them is the cause that they fall to desperation : 
m, in the hypocrites, it is the cause of arrogancy ami 

Ccnitrariwise, the true use of the law can never be 
Cileerned and magnified as it is worthy, namely, that 
^ nee, shut up under the law, despoireth 

u^ . .- .M .., ...^ instnictcfl by the wisdom of thu Holy 
^)host, concludeth w ith itself after this sort ; * I am in- 



deed shut up as a prisoner under the law, but not for 
ever ; yea, this shutting up shall turn to my great profit. 
How so ? because that I being thus shut up, shall be 
driven to sigh and seek the hand of an helper,' ^s& 
After this manner the law is an inforcer, which by com- 
pulsion, bringeth the hungry unto Christ, that he may 
satisfy them with his good things. Wherefore, the true 
office of the law is to shew unto us our sin^, to make 
us guilty, to humble us, to kill us, and to bring us down 
to hell, and finally to take from us all help, all succour, 
all comfort : but yet, altogether to this end, — that we 
may be justified, exalted, quickened to life, carried up 
unto heaven, and obtain all good things. Therefore, it 
doth not only kill, but it killeth that we may live. 


VERSE 24. 

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring ta 
to Christ. 

Here again he joineth the law and the Gospel togo^ 
ther, (which are separate so far asunder,) as touching the 
affections and inward man, when he saith, ^^ The law 
18 a schoolmaster to Christ." This similitude also of the 
schoolmaster is worthy to be noted. Although a school* 
master be veiy profitable and necessary to instruct and 
to bring up children, yet, shew me one child or scholar 
which loveth his master. What love and obedience the 
Jews shewed unto their Moses ! It appeareth that in 
every hour (as the history witnesseth) they would with 
all their hearts have stoned him to death, (Exodiis xvii. 
4.) It is not possible therefore that the scholar should 
love his master. For how can he love him which 
keepeth him in prison ; that is to say, which suffereth 
him not to do that which he gladly would ? And if he 
do any tiling against his commandment, by-and-by he ia 
rebuked and chastised ; yea, and is constrained moreover 
to kiss the rod when he is beaten. Is not this (I pray 
you) a goodly righteousness and obedience of the scho- 

fir, that he obeyeth his roaster severely threatening and 
m ^liarply correcting him, and kisseth the rod r But 
ibth he thus with a good-will ? As soon as the master 
hath tDTDed his back, he breaketh the rod, or casteth it 
ioio ihe lire. And it lie had any power over his master, 
he would not sulFer himself to be beaten of him, but 
iifher he would beat him. And yet, notwithstanding, 
Ae schoolmaster is very necessary for the child, to in* 
Umirt and chastise him : otherwise, the child, without 
bis discipline, instruction, and good education, should 
he nCierly lost. 

The schoolmaster therefore is appointed for the 
dhiid^ to teach him, to bring him up, and to keep him as 
it were in prison. But to what end, or how long ? Is it 
to the end that diis strict and sharp dealing of the 
scbootnriaster should always continue f Or that the child 
should remain in continnat bondage? Not so, hut only 
for a time; that this obedience, this prison and correc- 
tioD, might turn 10 the protit of the child; ihat when the 
time cometh he might l)e his father s heir. For it is not 
the father's will that his son should be always subject to 
the schoolmaster, and always beaten with rods; but, 
that by his inf^truction and discipline, he might be made 
Me and meet to be his father's successor. 

Even so, saith Paul, the law is nothing else but a 
r^ ^ • >t for ever, but imtil it have brought us 

to I ..,.-, . ^-- :li other nonls he said al&o before, ** The 
law was given for transgressions until the blessed seed 
should come.^ Also, ''The scripture hath shut all under 
tin/' &c. Again, *' We were kept under, ami shut up to 
iuth which should after be revealed./ Wherefore, the 
k» is uot only a schoolmaster, but it is a j-dioolm aster 
to bring; us unto Christ, lor what a schoolmaster were 
be, which would always torment and beat the child, and 
leach him nothing at aJJ ? And yet, such schoolmasters 
there were in time past, when schools were nothing else 
bot a prison, and a very helK and the schoolmasters 
rmel lymnte and very butchers. The children were 
atn$ic<;' beaten, they learned with continual pain and 
Hod few of them came to any proof, 'I'he law is 


not such a schoolmaster. For it doth not only terrify 
and torment, (as the foolish schoolmaster beateth hu 
scholars and teacheth them nothing,) but, with his rods 
he driveth us unto Christ. Like as a good schoolmaster 
instructeth and exerciseth his scholars in reading and 
writing, to the end that they may come to the knowledge 
of good letters and other profitable things, that after- 
wards, they may have a delight in doing of that, whidb 
before, when they were constrained thereunto, ^ey did 
against their wills. 

By this goodly similitude, Paul sheweth what is the 
true use of the law ; namely that it justifieth not hypo- 
crites, for they remain without Christ in their presump- 
tion and security : and contrariwise, that it leaveth not 
in death and damnation those that are of a contrite 
heart, (so that they use it as Paul teacheth) but driveth 
them unto Christ. But they, which in these terrors still 
continue in their wickedness, and do not apprehend 
Christ by faith, do fall at length into desperation. Paul, 
therefore, in diis allegory of the schoolmaster, moit 
lively expresseth the true use of the law. For, like ai 
the schoolmaster reproveth his scholars, grieveth them, 
and maketh them heavy ; and yet, not to the end that 
this bondage should always continue, but that it ahoald 
cease when the children are well brought up and in- 
structed accordingly ; and that afterwards, without any 
constraint of the schoolmaster, they should cheerfully 
enjoy their liberty and their father's goods: even bo, 
they which are vexed and oppressed with the law, ^ 
know, that these terrors and vexations shall not always 
continue, but that thereby they are prepared to come 
unto Christ which is to be revealed, and so to receive the 
liberty of the spirit, &c. 

VERSE 24. 

TTiat we may be made righteous by faith. 

The law is not a schoolmaster to bring us unto 
another lawgiver which requireth good works, but unto 
Christ our Justifier and Saviour ; that, by faith in him, 


ife might be justified, ami not by works. But when a 

man feeleth the force and {(trength of the law, lie doth 

not understand nor belie\'e this. Therefore, he saith, I 

have lived wickedly, for I have transgressed all the 

comoiaDdnients of God ; and therefore, I am guilty of 

eternal death. If God would prolong my life certain 

jeBiSj or at least certain months, I would amend my life 

ttid live holily hereafter. Here, of the true !i«e of the 

kvr, he maketh an abuse. Reason, l)ein^ overtaken in 

diese terrors and straits, is bold to promise unto Cfod 

die fnliillin^ of all the works of the whole law. And 

hereof came so many sects and swarms of monks and 

friigious hypocrites, so many ceremonies and so many 

works, devised to deserve grace and remission of sins. 

And they which devised such things, thought that the 

kw was a schoolmaster to lead them unto (Christ, but to 

m new law ; or, unto Christ as a lawgiver, and not as 

one that abolished the law. 

But the true use of the law, is, to teach me that I 

am brought to the knowledge of my sin and humbled, 

diat so I may come unto Christ and may be justified by 

fiiith. But faith is neither law nor work, but an assured 

confidence which apprehendeth Christ, " who is the 

ead of the law,*" Rom. x. And how ? Not that he hath 

abolished the old law and given a new, or that he is a 

judge which must be pacified by works, as the Papists 

bave taught, but he is the end of the law to all those 

that believe ; that is to say, every one that l>elieveth on 

him is righteous, and the law shall never accuse him. 

The law then is good, holy, and just, so that a man use 

it as he should do. Now they that abuse the law are, 

first, the hypocrites which attribute unto the law a 

power to justify ; and secondly, they which do desimir, 

not knowing that the law is a schoolmaster to lead men 

onto Christ ; that is to say, that the law humbleth them 

not to their destruction but to their salvation ; tor Ciod 

woandeth that he may heal again, he killeth that he 

may quicken again. 

*Now Paul, as before I have said, speaketh of those 
alridi are to be'jnstified, and not of those which are jus- 


tified already. Therefore, when thou goest about to 
reason as concerning the law, thou must take the matter 
of the law, or that whereupon the law worketh; namdyi 
the sinner and the wicked person; whom the law justH 
fieth not, but setteth sin before his eyes, casteth him 
down and bringeth him to the knowledge of himself; it 
sheweth him hell, and the wrath and the judgment of 
God. This is, indeed, the proper office of the law. Then 
foUoweth the use of this office ; to wit, that the sinner 
may know that the law doth not revc»l unto him his 
sin, and thus humbleth him, to the end he shoold 
despair, but that, by this accusing and bruising, it may 
drive him unto Christ the Saviour and Comforter. When 
this is done, he is no longer under the schoolmaster. 
And this use is very necessary ; for seeing the whole 
world is overwhelmed with sin, it hath need of this mi- 
nistry of the law that sin may be revealed ; otherwise^ 
no man should ever attain to righteousness, as before we 
have largely declared. But, what worketh the law in 
them that are already justified by Christ? — Paul answer* 
cth by these words ; which are, ajs it were, an addition 
to tliat which goeth before ; 

VERSE 25. 

But after that faith is come^ we are no longer under 
a schoolmaster. 

That is to say, we are free from the law, from the 
prison, and from our schoolmaster. For when fiuth is 
revealed, the law terrifieth and tormeneth us no more. 
Paul here speaketh of faith, as it was preached and 
published to the world by Christ in the time before ap«> 
pointed. For Christ, taking upon him our flesh, came 
once into the world. He abolished the law with all his 
efiects, and delivered from eternal death all those which 
receive his benefit by faith. If therefore ye look unto 
Christ, and that which he hath done, there is now no 
law. For he, coming in the time appointed, took away 
the law. Now since the law is gone, we are not kept 
under the tyranny thereof any more, but we live ini^oy 

and safely under Christ, who now so sweetly reigneth 

10 us by his spirit. Anil where the Lord reigneth, there 

IS hberty. Wherefore, if we would perfectly apprehend 

Ohmi» which hatli abolished the law by his death, and 

hach reconciled us unto his Father, that schoolmaster 

llioald have no power over us at all. But the law of the 

viembersy rebelling against the law of the mind, letteth 

m that we cannot perfectly lay hold u|>on Christ, The 

kckj tlierefore, is not in Christ, but in us whicli have not 

JFCI put off this tlesh, to which sin continually cleaveth as 

loBg as we live. Wherefore, as touching ourselves, we 

iie partly free from the law, and partly under the law. 

Aceofflmg to the spirit, we serve with Paul the *' Law 

of God; but according to the flesh, the law of sin." 

Bom. vii* 

Hen^f it followeth, that, as touching the conscience, 
fully delivered from the law ; and therefore, that 
aster must not rule in it ; that is, he must not 
it with his- terrors, threatenings, and captivity. 
And albeit it go about so to do never so much, yet is not 
ibe conscience moved therewith. For it hath Clirist cru- 
cified before her eyes, who hath removed all the offices 
of the law out of the conscience, putting out the hand- 
writiDg of ordinances that was against us, &c. (CoL ii,) 
Therelbre, even as a virgin knoweth no man> so the con* 
■JBULe must not only be ignorant of the law, but also it 
mst be utterly dead unto the law, anil the law likewise 
Qoto the conscience. This is not done by any works, or 
by the righteousness of the law, but by faith which ap- 
piefaeodeth and layeth hold upon Christ, Notw^ith- 
stftodingj sin cleaveth still in the flesh, as touching the 
effect thereof, which oftentimes accuseth and troubleth 
die coQScience. So long tlien as the flash doth remain, 
m long this schoolmaster the law doth also remain ; 
vhich many times terrifieth the conscience, and maketh 
il heavy by revealing of sin and threatening of death. 
Yet it is raised up again by the daily coming of Christ ; 
iho^ as he came once into the world in the time before 
ipfioioied to redeem us from the hard and sharp servi- 
tiide of our schoolmaster ; even so^ he cometh daily 


unto us, spiritually, to the ^nd that we may increase in 
faith, and in the knowledge of him, that the conscienoe 
may apprehend him more fiilly and perfectly from day 
to day, and that the law of the flesh and of sin, with the 
terror of death and all evils that the law bring^th with it^ 
may be daily diminished in us more and more. , As long 
then as we live in the flesh, which is not without sin, the 
law oftentimes retumeth and doth his office,, in one more 
and in another less, as their faith is strong or weak ; and 
yet, not to their destruction, but to their salvation. For 
this is the exercise of the law in the saints ; namely, the 
continual mortification of the flesh, of reason, and of 
our own strength, and the daily renewing of our inward 
man, as it is said in 2 Cor. iv. 

We receive then the first-fruits of the Spirit: the 
leaven is hid in the mass of the dough, but all the dou^ 
is not yet leavened : now it is yet, but only begun to be 
leavened. If I behold the leaven, I see nothing else but 
pure leaven. But if I behold the whole mass, I see that 
it is not all pure leaven : that is to say, if I bdiold 
Christ, I am altogether pure and holy, knowing nothing 
at all of the law, for Christ is my leaven. But if I be- 
hold my own flesh, I feel in myself covetousness, lust,' 
anger, pride, and arrogancy ; also, the fear of death, 
heaviness, hatred, murmuring and impatiency against 
God. The more these sins are in me, the more Christ is 
absent from me ; or, if he be present, he is felt but a 
Uttle. Here v\e have need of a schoolmaster to exercise 
and vex this strong ass the flesh, that, by this exercise, 
sins may l)e diminished, and a way prepared unto Christ. 
For as Christ came once, corporally, at the time ap- 
pointed, abolished the whole law, vanquished sin, and 
destroyed death and hell; even so, he cometh, spiri- 
tually, without ceasing, and daily quencheth and kiUeth 
those sins in us. 

This I say, that thou mayest be able to answer if any 
shall thus object, Christ came into the world, and at 
once took away all our sins and cleansed us by his 
blood ; what need we, tlien, to hear the Gospel or re- 
ceive the sacraments ? True it is, tliat, inasmuch as thou 

beholdest Christ, the law and sin are quite aboh'shed* 
Bui Christ is not yet come unto thee; or^ if he be come, 
yet, notwithstanding, there are remnants of sin in thee; 
ifaoa art not yet thoroughly leavened. For where con- 
dpiscence, heaviness of spirit, and fear of death is, 
mere is yet also the law and sin. Clirist is not yet tho- 
HMlg^y come; but when he cometh indeed, he driveth 
away lear and heaviness, and liringeth peace and quiet- 
^le as of conscience. So far forth then as 1 do apprehend 
HCtirist by faith, so much is the law abolished in me. But 
^■■^flesh^ tlie world, and the devil, do hinder faith in me 
PHk it cannot be perfect. Right gladly I would, that that 
Ikde light of faith \^ hich is in my heart were spread 
throoghout all my body and all the members thereof; 
bot it is not to be done ; it is not by-and-by spread, bot 
only beginneth to be spread. In the mean season, this 
is Oil olation, that we who have the first-fruits of 

the >^ do now be^in to be leavened. But we shall 

be tborcMJghly leavened, when this body of sin is dis- 
solved, anti we shall rise new creatures, wholly, together 
with Chri^^t, 

Albeit then that Christ be one and the same yester- 
ly, to-day, and shall be for ever; (Heb. xiii, H.) and 
ibeit that all the faithful which were before Christ, had 
Gospel and faith; yet, notwidistanding, Christ came 
in the time before determined, t^ith also came 
wlien the apostles preached, and published the 
pel throughont the world. Moreover, Christ cometh 
spiritually, every day. Faith likewise cometh daily 
the word of the Gospel. Now when faith is come, 
the schoolmaster is constrained to give place with his 
ittavy and grievous office. Christ cometh also, spiri- 
imllyy when we still more and more do know and un- 
derstand those things which by him are given unto 
«s, and increase in grace and in the knowledge of 
e Pet iif. 


GALATIANS ill. 19' 

Until the seed came unto which the promise was 

Paul maketh not the law perpetual, but he saith that 
it was given and added to the promise " for transgres- 
sions ;" that is to say, to restrain them civilly ; but es- 
pecially, to reveal and to increase them sphitually ; and 
that, not continually, but for a time. Here it is neces- 
sary to know, how long the power and tyranny of tha 
law ought to endure which discovereth sin, sheweth 
unto us what we are, and revealeth the wrath of God, 
They whose hearts are touched with an inward feelins 
of these matters, should suddenly perish if they should 
not receive comfort Therefore, if the days of the law 
should not be shortened, no man should be saved. A 
time, therefore, must be set, and bounds limited to the 
law, beyond the which it may not reign. How long then 
ought the dominion of the law to endure ? ^' Until the 
seed come :" to wit, that seed of which it is written, 
" In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be 
blessed.' The tyranny of the law then must so long 
continue, until the fulness of time, and until that seed m 
the blessing come. Not to the end that the law should 
bring this seed, or give righteousness ; but that it should 
(ivilly restrain the rebellious and obstinate, and shut 
them up as it were in prison; and then, spiritually, 
should reprove them of sin, humble them and terrify 
them; and when they are thus humbled and beaten 
down, it should constrain them to look up to that 
blessed seed. 

We may understand the contitmance of the law, 
both according to the letter, and also spiritually. Ac- 
cording to the letter, thus: — that the law continued 
until the time of grace. " The law and the prophets 
(saith Christ) prophesied until John. From the time of 
John until this day the kingdom of heaven suffereth. 


violence, and the violent take it by force," Matt, xi. IS, 
IS. In this time, Christ was baptized and began to 
preach. At what time also, (after the letter) the law and 
mil the ceremonies of Moses ceased. 

Spiritually, the law must be thus understood, — that 
it ought not to reign in the conscience, any longer than 
to the appointed time of the blessed seed. When the law 
sliewelh unto me my sin, terrifieth me, and revealeth the 
imitfa and judgment of God, so diat I begin to tremble 
and to despair, there hath the lavy his bounds, his time, 
mad his end limited ; so that now, he cease th to exercise 
iris tyranny any more. For when he hath done his office 
aafliciently, he hath revealed the wrath of God, and ter- 
rified enough. Here we must say, * Now leave oft', law : 
tiiou hast done enough : thou hast terrified and tor- 
mented me enough.' " All thy floods have run over me, 
and thy terrors have troubled me* Lord, turn not away 
ihy face in thy wrath from thy servant. Rebuke me not, 
I b^^eech thee, in thine anger," &c. (Ps. xlii. 7, Ixix. 2, 
xxvL 9) When these terrors and troubles come, then ib 
the time and the hour of the blessed seed come. Let the 
law then give place ; which, indeed, is added to reveal 
and to increase transgressions, and yet, no longer than 
QOtit that blessed seed be come. When it is come, then 
lei the law* leave ofl' to reveal sin, and to terrify any 
ttore^ and let him deliver up his kingdom to another; 
dial is to say, to the blessed seed, which is Christ ; who 
katfa gracious lips, wherewith he accuseth and terrifieth 
oat, bat speaketh of far better things than doth the law ; 
namely of grace, peace, forgiveness of sins, victory over 
fiin, deatht the devil, and damnation, gotten by his death 
tod passion unto all believers. 

Paul tlierefore sheweth by these words, '* Until the 
leed should come unto whom the blessing was pro- 
ilised,^ how long the law should endure, literally, and 
l|NritQally. According to the law, it ceased after the 
blessed seed came into the world, taking upon him our 
teh, giving the Holy Ghost, and writing a new law in 
tm hearts. lUrt the spiritual time of the law, doth not 
«id at once, but continueth fast rooted in the conscience* 

E S 


Therefore it is a hard matter for a man which is exercised 
with the spiritual use of the law, to see the end of the 
law. For in these terrors and feeling of sin, the mind 
cannot conceive this hope — that God is merciful, and 
that he will forgive sins for Christ's sake ; but it judgeth 
only that God is angry with sinners, and that he ac- 
cuseth and condemneth them. If faith come not here to 
raise up again the troubled and afflicted conscience, or 
else (according to that saying of Christ, " Where two or 
three be gathered together in my name," &c.) there be 
some faithful brother at hand that may comfort him, by 
the word of God, which is so oppressed and beateti 
down by the law, desperation and death must nei^ds fol- 
low. There, it is perilous for a man to be alone ; ** Wo 
be to him that is alone (saith the preacher;) for when he 
falleth, he hath none to raise him up." Wherefore, they 
that ordained that cursed monkish solidary life, gave 
occasion to many thousands to despair. If a man should 
separate himself from the company of others for a day 
or two, to be occupied in prayer, (as we read of Christ, 
that sometime he went aside alone into the mount, and 
by night continued in prayer,) there were no danger 
therein. But when they constrained men continually to 
live a solitary life, it was a device of the devil himself. 
For when a man is tempted and is alone, he is not able 
to raise up himself, no not in the least temptation that 
can be. 


GALATIANS iil. 6. 

As Abraham believed God, and it was imputed (o him 
for righteousness. 

The apostle now addeth the example of Abraham, 
and rehearseth the testimony of the scripture. The first 
is out of Gen. xv. 6. " Abraham believed God,** &c. 
This place the apostle here mightily prosecuteth, as also 
he did in his Epistle to the Romans ; '^ If Abraham 



(»ith be) was justified by the works of the law, he hath 
ri^teousness and rejoicing ; but not before God, but 
before men, (Rom. iv. 2, 3.) For before God, there is . 
ootliing in him but sin and wratlh Now he was justified 
before God, not because he did work^ but because her] 
did believe. For the scripture saith, *' Abraham be- 
Ueved, and it was counted unto him for righteousness/' 
This place doth Paul there notably set forth and am- 
plify, as is most worthy ; '* Abraliam (saith he) was not 
weak in the faith, neither considered he his own body , 
which was now dead, being almost an hundred years 
old, neither the deadneas of Sarah's womb ; neither did | 
he doubt of the promise through unbelief, but was, 
stieogthened in the faith, and gave glory to God ; beingj 
ftiUy assured, Uiat whatsoever God had promised he, 
was able to do* Now it is not written for him only- 
thai it was imputed to him for righteousness, but for us - 
akor&e. (Rom. iv. 19, 20.) 

Paul, by these words, ''Abraham believed/' maketh, 
of feith in God, the chiefest w orship, the chiefest duty, 
the chiefest obedience, and the chiefest sacrifice. Let 
him that is a rhetorician amplity this place, and he 
imH see, that faith is an almighty thing, and that the 
power thereof is infinite and inestimable, for it giveth 
glory unto God, which is the liighest service that can be 
pfeo unto him. Now, to give glory unto God, is, to be- 
lieve in him, to count him true, wise, righteous, merciful, 
•Imigbty ; briefly, to acknowledge him to be the author 
md giver of all goodness. This reason doth not, but 
&ith. That is it which maketh us divine people ; and, 
a«^ a man would say, it is the creator of certain divinity, 
lint in the substance of God, but in us. For without 
^th, God loseth in us his glory, wisdom, righteousness, 
tnith, and mercy. To conclude, no majesty or divinity 
remaineth unto God, where faith is not. And the chiefest 
that God requireth of man, is, that he give unto 
glory and his divinity ; that is to say, that he 
lake him not for an idol, but for God who regartleth 
, heareth him, sheweth mercy unto him, and helpeth 



done, God hath his full and perfect 


divinity: that is, he hath whatsoever a faithful hea 
can attribute unto him. To be able therefore to give that 
glory unto God, is the wisdom of wisdoms, the righte- 
ousness of righteousnesses, the religion of religions, 
and the sacrifice of sacrifices ! Hereby we may perceive, 
what an high and excellent righteousness faith'is ; and 
so, by the contrary, what an horrible and grievous sin 
infidelity is. 

Whosoever then believeth the Word of God, as 
Abraham did, is righteous before God; because, be 
hath faith which giveth glory to God ; that is, he riveth 
to God that which is due to him. For faith saith mns, I 
believe thee, O God, when thou speakest. And what 
saith God? Impossible things, lies, foolish, weak, absurd, 
abominable, heretical, and devilish things, if ye believe, 
reason ! For what is more absurd, foolish, and impossi- 
ble, than when God saith to Abraham, that he siionld 
have a son of the barren and dead body of his wife Sarah ! 
So, if we will follow the judgment of reason, Grod 
setteth forth absurd and impossible things, when he 
setteth out unto us the articles of the Christian fieatli. 
Indeed, it seemeth to reason an absurd and a foolidi 
thing, that, in the Lord's Supper, is olSered unto as the 
body and blood of Christ ; that baptism, is the laver of 
the new birth and of the renewing of the Holy Ghost ; 
that the dead shall rise at the last day ; that Christ die 
Son of God was conceived and carried in the womb of 
the Virgin Mary ; that he was bom ; that he safik^ 
the most reproachful death of the cross ; that he was 
raised up again ; that he now sitteth at the right hand of 
God the Father, and that he hath power bom in heaven 
and in earth. For this cause, Paul calleth the Gospel of 
Christ crucified, the word of the cross and fooliflli 
preaching, (1 Cor. i. 18;) which, to the Jews was of- 
fensive, and to the Gentiles foolish doctrine. Wherefore, 
reason doth not understand, that to hear the Word of 
God and tc believe it, is the chiefest service that God 
requireth of us. But it thinketh, that those things whidi 
it chooseth and doth of a good intent, (as they call it,) 
and of her own devotion, please God. Therefore, when 

God speaketfaf reason judgeth his word to be heresy 
acid the word of the devil, for it seemeth unto it absurd 
and foolish. 

But faith killeth reason, and slayeth that beast 

which the whole world and all creatures cannot kill. So, 

Abraham killed it by faith in the word of God whereby 

seed was promised unto him of Sarah, who was barren 

ud now past child-bearing. Unto this word reason 

jieldeth not straightway in Abraham, but it fought 

against faith in him, judging it to be an absurd, a 

foolish, and impossible thing that Sarah, who was now 

not only ninety years old, but also was barren by nature, 

ahotild bring forth a son. Thus, faith wrestled with 

reason in Abraham, but herein faith got the victory, and 

kOled and crucified reason, that most cruel and pestilent 

enemy of God* So, all the godly, entering with Abra- 

buD into the darkness of faith, do still reason ; saying, 

reason, thou art foolish : thou dost not saTOur those 

things which belong unto God; therefore, speak not 

Miinst me^ but hold thy peace. Judge not, but hear the 

Word of God and believe it. So, the godly l)y faith, 

kill such a beast as is greater than the whole world ; and 

ibcfeby, do offer unto God a most acceptable sacrifice 

tad sen'-ice. 

And, in comparison of this sacrifice of the faithful, 
all the religions of all nations, and all the works of all 
monks and merit-mongers, are nothing at all. For by 
this sacrifice, first, as I said, they kill reason, a great 
aod mighty enemy of God, For reason despise th God 
aad denietb his wisdom, justice, power, truth, mercy, 
majes^, and divinity. Moreover, by the same sacrifice, 
Aw yield glory unto God : that is, they believe him to 
JKjQst, good, faithful, true, &c. : they believe that he 
can do all things ; that all his words are holy, true, 
lively, and effectual, &c. : which is a most acceptable 
obedience unto God, Wherefore, there can be no greater 
Of more holy religion in the world, nor more acceptable 
auto God^ than faith is 1 

Contrariwise, the justiciaries and such as seek 


righteousness by their own works, lacking faith, do 
many things. They fast, they pray, they watch, they lay 
drosses upon themselves. But because they think to ap- 
pease the wrath of God, and deserve grace by these 
things, they give no glory to God : that is, they do not 
judge him to be merciful, true, and keeping promise, &c. 
but to be an aAgry Judge which must be pacified with. 
works. And by this means, they despise GocJ and make 
him a liar in all his promises ; and they deny Christ and 
all his benefits. To conclude, they thrust God out of his. 
seat, and set themselves in his place* Fortheyj rejecting 
and despising the word of God, do choose unto them- 
selves such a service of God, and such works, as God 
hath not commanded. They imagine, that God hath a 
pleasure therein ; and they hope to receive a reward of 
him for the same. Therefore, they kill not reason, that 
mighty enemy of God, but quicken it : and they take 
from God his majesty and his divinity, and attribute the 
same unto their own works. Wherefore, only faith 
giveth glory to God, as Paul witnesseth of Abraham*. 
" Abraham (saith he) was strong in the faith, and ^ve 
glory to God ; being fully assured, that whatsoever God 
had promised he was able to perform ; and therefore it 
was imputed to him for righteousness," Rom. iv. 20, 21. 
Christian righteousness, consisteth in the faith of the 
heart, and God's imputation. It is not without cause, 
that he addeth this sentence out of the 15 th chapter of 
Genesis, " And it was imputed unto him for righteoasn 
ness." For Christian righteousness, consisteth in two 
things : that is to say, in the faith of the heart, and in 
God's imputation. Faith is indeed a formal righteous-, 
ness, and yet, this righteousness is not enough: for 
after faith, there remain yet certain remnants of sin in 
our flesh. This sacrifice of faith began in Abraham, but 
at the last it was finished in his death. Wherefore, the 
other part of righteousness must needs be added also,^ to 
finish the t^ame in us ; that is to say, God's imputation. 
For faith giveth not enough to God, because it is imper- 
fect, yea rather, our faith is but a little spark of faith 


which beginneth to render unto God his true divinity. 
We have received the first-fruits of the Spirit, but not 
yet the tenths. Besides this, reason is not utterly killed 
m this life. Which may appear by our concupiscence^ 
wrath, impatiency, and other fruits of the fiesh, and of 
infidelity yet remaining in us. Yea the holiest that live 
have not yet a full and continual joy in God, but have 
dieir sundry passions, sometimes sad, sometimes merry, 
as the scriptures witness of the prophets an<i a|K>htles. 
But such faults are not laid to their charge because of 
dieir faith in Christ; for otherwise, no tiesh should be 
saved. We conclude, therefore, upon these words, " it 
was imputed to him for righteousness,'' that riulitcous- 
ness indeed beginneth througli faiUi, and by the .^^ame 
we have the first-fruits of the Spirit : but Iwcause faith 
is weak, it is not made perfect without CnKVn imputa- 
tioD. Wherefore, faith beginneth righteousness, but ini- 
patation maketh it perfect unto the day of Christ. 

The Popish sophisters and schoolmen dispute also 
of imputation, ^%hen they speak of the good acce|)tation 
of the work ; but, beside and clean contrary to the r-crip- 
tore ; for they wrest it only to works. They do not con- 
sider the uDcleanncss and inward poison lurking in the 
heart, as incredulity, doubting, contemning and hating 
of God ; which most pernicious and [perilous lK»asts, are 
the fountain and cause of all mischief. They ( orisider no 
more but outward and gross faults and unrighteousness, 
which are little rivers proceeding and issuing out of those 
fountains. Therefore, they attrilmte acceptance to works: 
that is to say, that God doth accept our works, not of 
duty, but of congnience. ('ontrariwise, we, excluding 
all works, do go to the very bead of this I)east which is 
called reason, which is the fountain and head-spring of 
all mischiefs. For reason feareth not God : it loveth not 
God; it trusteth not in CJod, but proudly contemneth 
him. It is not moved with his threatenings or his pro- 
mises; it is not deliglited with his words or works, 
bat itmurmureth against him : it is angry with him, and 
jadgeth and hateth him. To be short, it is an enemy to 
God (Rom. viii. 7,) not giving him his glory. This pes- 



tilent beast reason, I say, being once slain, all outward 
and gross vices should be nothing. 

Wherefore, we must first and before all things go 
about by faith to kill infidelity, the contempt and hating 
of God, and murmuring against his judgment, his wratli, 
and all his words and works. For then do we kill rea- 
son, which can be killed by none other means, but by 
faith: whicK, in believing God, giveth unto him his 
glory^ notwithstanding that he speaketh those things 
which seem both foolish, absurd, and impossible unto 
reason: notwithstanding also, that God setteth forth 
himself otherwise than reason is able either to judge or 
to conceive : that is to say after this manner : — I will 
account and pronounce thee as righteous, not for the 
keeping of the law, not for thy works and thy merits, 
but for thy faith in Jesus Christ mine only begotten Son, 
who was bom, suffered, was crucified, and died for thy 
sins ; and that sin which remaineth in thee, I will not 
impute unto thee. If reason then be not killed, and all 
. kinds of religion, and all services of God under heaven 
that are invented by men to get righteousness before 
God, be not condemned, the righteousness of faith can- 
not take place. 

When reason heareth this, by-and-by it is offended ; 
it rageth and uttereth all her malice against God ; say- 
ing, Are then my good- works nothing ? Have I then la- 
boured and borne the heat of the day in vain ? (Matt. 
XX. 11.) Hereof ariseth those uproars of nations, of 
kings and princes against the Lord and against his 
Christ (Psalm ii.) For the world neither will nor can 
suffer that his wisdom, righteousness, religions, and 
worshippings, should be reproved and condemned. The 
Pope with all his Popish rabbleraent will not seem to 
err, much less will he suffer himself to be condemned. 

Wherefore, let those which give themselves to the 
study of the Holy Scripture, learn out of it this saying, 
"Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for 
righteousness," to set forth truly and rightly this true 
Christian righteousness after this manner ; — ^ that it is a 
faith and confidence in the Son of God ; or rather, a 

I S5I 

coDildeoce of the heart in God though Jesus Christ, 
Aod let them add this clause as a difterence, — which 
lailh and confidence is accounted righteousness for 
Christ's sake. For these two things, as I said before, 
TTork Christian righteousness ; namely, faith in the 
beajt^ ^I'hich is a gift of God and assuredly believeth in 
Christ ; and also, that God accepteth this imperfect 
imth for perfect righteousness for Christ's sake, in whom 
I have begun to believe. Because of this faith in Christ, 
God seeth not my doubting of his good-will towards me, 
my distrust, my heaviness of spirit, and other sins which 
afe yet in me. For as long as I live in the flesh, sin is 
tmly in me. But because I am covered under the shadow 
of Christ^s wingSj as is the chicken under the wing of 
the beo, and dwell without all fear under that most 
ample and large heaven of the forgiveness of sins which 
b spread over me, God covereth and pardoneth the 
remnant of sin in me ; that is to say, because of that 
&ith wherewith I began to lay hold upon Christ, he ac- 
cepteth my imperfect righteousness even for perfect 
ri^teousness, and counteth my sin for no sin, which, 
notwithstanding, is sin indeed. 

So we shroud ourselves under the covering of 
Christ s flesh; who is "our cloudy pillar for the day> and 
our pillar of fire for the night (Exod, xiii, 21,) lest God 
should see our sin. And although we see it, and for the 
8UDe do feel the terrors of conscience, yet, fleeing unto 
Christ our Mediator aod Reconciler, through whom we 
lie made perfect, we are sure and safe. For as sdl things 
iDe in him, so, through him, we have all things, w^ho 
tbo doth supply whatsoever is wanting in us. When we 
believe this, God winketh at the sins and remnants of 
m yet sticking in our flesh, and so covereth them as if 
they were no sins. Because (saith he) thou believest in 
my Son, although thou have many sins ; yet, not with- 
tending, they shall be forgiven thee, until thou be clean 
delivered from them by death. 

Let Christians learn with all diligence to understand 
tUs article of Christian righteousness. And to this end^ 
let them read Paul, and read him again both often and 


with great diligence, and let them compare the first 
with the last, yea, let them compare Paul wholly and 
folly M'ith himself; then shall they find it to be true, 
that Christian righteousness consisteth in these two 
things, namely, in faith which giveth glory unto God^ 
and in God's imputation. For faith is weak, as 1 have 
said, and therefore God's imputation must needs be 
joined withal ; that is to say, that God will not lay to 
our charge the remnant of sin ; that he will not punish 
it nor condemn us for it ; but will cover it and freely 
forgive it, as though it were nothing at all ; not for our 
sake, nor for our worthiness and works, but for Jesus 
Christ's sake in whom .we believe. 

Thus a Christian man is both righteous and a sinner,* 
holy and profane, an enemy of God and yet a child of 
God. These contraries no sophister will admit, for 
they know not the true manner of justification. And 
this was the cause why they constrained men to work 
well so long, until they should feel in themselves no sin 
at all. Wherel^y they gave occasion to many (which 
striving with all their endeavour to be perfectly righteous 
could not attain thereunto,) to become stark mad. Yea, 
an infinite number also of those which were the authors 
of this devilish opinion, at the Tiour of death, were 
driven to desperation. Which thing had happened unto 
me also, if Christ had not mercifolly looked upon me 
and delivered me out of this terror. 

Contrariwise, we teach and comfort the afflicted 
sinner after this manner. Brother, it is not possible for 
thee to become so righteous in this life, that thou 
shouldst feel no sin at all, that thy body should be clear 
like the sun without spot or blemish, but thou hast yet ' 
wrinkles and spots, and yet art thou holy notwithstand- 
ing. But thou wilt say, how can I be holy when I have 
and feel sin in me ? I answer : in that thou dost feel 
and acknowledge thy sin, it is a good token ; give thanks 
to God, and despair not. It is one step of health, when 
the sick man doth acknowledge and confess his infirmity. 
But how shall I be delivered from sin ? Run to Christ 
the physician, which healeth them that are broken in 


and savelh sinners. Follow not the judgment of 
>n, which telleth thee that he is angry with sinners, 
bttt kill reason and beheve in Christ. If thou believe, 
ihoii art righteous ; because thou givest glory to God, 
that be is aJmii^fity, mercifuK true, &c. and thou jus- 
tifiest and praisest God. To be brief, thou yieldest unto 
ktm his divinity, and whatsoever else belonged) unto 
bilD* And the sin which remaineth in thee is not laid 
to thy charge, but is pardoned for Christ's sake in whom 
thou believest; who is perfectly just, whose righteous- 
ness IS thy righteousness, and thy sin his sin. 

Here M*e see, that every Christian is an high-priest. 
For first, he otiereth up and killeth his own reason pnd 
the wisdom of the tJesh. Then, he giveth glorj^^ to God, 
Cbat he is righteous, true, patient, pitiful, and mercifuL 
And this is that daily sacrifice of the New Testament, 
which must be offered evening and morning. The 
cfmiDg sacrifice, is to kill reason : the morning sacrifice, 
» to glorify God. Thus a Christian daily and con- 
ly is occupied in this dou'nle sacrifice, and in the 
ise thereof. And no man is able to set forth suf- 
iicicfitly, the excellency and dignity of this Christian 

This is therefore a strange and wonderful definition 
nf Christian righteousness: — ^thatit is the imputation of 
God for righteousness, or unto righteousness, because of 
our faith in Christ, or for Christ's sake. When the 
pQpbh schoolmen hear this definition, they laugh at it. 
For ihey imagine, that righteousness is a certain quality 
ired into the soul, and afterwards spread into all the 
of man. They cannot put away the vain ima- 
ioiLs of reason ; which teacheth, that a right judg- 
ilaod a good will, or a good intent, is true righteous- 
•css. This unspeakable gift, therefore, excelleth all 
mscm ; — that God doth account and acknowledge him 
Sar righteous, without works, which embraceth his Son 
by faith alone, wlm uas sent into the world, was bora, 
I was crucified for us. 


iLter, as touching the words, is easy ; fto wit, 


that righteousness is not essentially in us as the papists 
reason out of Aristotle, but witKout ns in the grace of 
God only and in his imputation ; and that, there is no 
essential substance of righteousness in us besides that 
weak faith or first-fruits of faith, whereby we have b^im 
to apprehend Christ, and yet sin in the mean time verily 
remaineth in us ;) but, in very deed, it is no small or 
light matter, but weighty and of great importance. For 
Christ, which was given for us, and whom we apprebmd 
by faith, hath done no small thing for us, but, as Panl 
said before, '^ He hath loved us and given himself in 
very deed for us." He was made accuraed for us, (Gal. 
ii. 10. iii. 13.) And this is no vain speculation, that 
Christ was delivered for my sins, and was accursed for 
me that I might be delivered from everlasting death. 
Therefore, to apprehend that Son by faith, and with the 
heart to believe him given unto us (Isaiah ix. 6,) and for 
us of God, causeth that God doth account that faith, al«> 
though it be imperfect, for perfect righteousness. 

And here, we are altogether in another world far 
from reason ; where we dispute, not what we ought to^ 
do, or with what grace we may deserve grace and for- 
giveness of sins, but we are in a matter of most hi^* 
and heavenly divinity, where we, do hear this Gospel or . 
glad tidings, — that Christ died for us, and that we, be-^ ^ 
lieving this, are accounted righteous, though sins not- \ 
withstanding do remain in us, and that great sins. So' ' 
our Saviour Christ also deiineth the righteousness of > ] 
faith ; " The Father (saith he) loveth you." Wherefora | 
doth he love you ? Not because ye were Pharisees unre*: ; 
provable in the righteousness of the law, circumcistod^^ 
doing good works, fasting, &c. ; but, because I havex 
chosen you out of the world, and ye have done nothings ^ 
but that ye have loved me, and believed that I am corned, 
out from the Father. This object (I) being sent from tfia<^ 
Father, pleased you. And because you have appre^' 
hehded and embraced this object, therefore, the Father^ 
loveth you, and therefore ye please him. And yet not*"* 
withstanding, in another place, he calleth them evil, and 


comixiandeth them to ask for the forgiveness of their 

sns. These two things are quite contrary ; to uitj that 

t a Christian is righteous and beloved of Crod, and yet, 

notwithstanding, he is a sinner. For God cannot deny 

i his own nature ; that is, he must needs hate sin, and 

I iniDers ; and this he doth of necessity, for otherwisej he 

I sbcmld be unrighteous and love sin. How then can these 

two contradictions stand together? I am a sinner and 

newt worthy of God's wrath and indignation : and yet 

the Father loveth me ? Here nothing cometh between, 

but only Christ the Mediator. The Father (saith he) 

dolh not therefore love you, because ye are Morthy of 

love, but because ye have loved me, and have believed 

thftt I came out from him. 

Thus a Christian man ahideth in true humility, feel- 
I ilig sin in him effectually, and confessing himself to be 
[ HOrthy of w rath, of the judgment of God, and of ever- 
I hitlllg death for the same, that he may be humbled in 
I lilts life. And yet, notwithstanding, be continueth still 
I b his pride, in the which he turneth unto Christ, and in 
I hiiD, he litteth up himself against this feeling of God's 
I wmth and judgment, and believeth, that not only the 
I lenuiants of sin are not imputed unto him, but that also 
I lie is loved of the Father, not for his own sake, but for 
i Christ's sake whom the Father loveth. 
I Hereby now we may see, how faith justifieth with- 
I mi works ; and yet, notwithstanding, how imputation 
I of ri5»hteousness is also necessary. Sins do remain in 
I 9S which God utterly hateth* Therefore, it is necessary 
I ihat we should have imputation of righteousness, which 
I le obtain through Christ, and for his sake who is given 
ff Ci!«» hi^ and received of us by faith. In the mean time, 
1 «* iLtng as we live here, we are carried and nourished in 
^■hb bosom of the mercy and long-sufferance of God, 
^^ktil the body of sin be abolished, and we raised up as 
^^pir creatures in that great day. Then shall there be 
^H^Bv heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness 
^^lill dwell. In the mean while, under this heaven, sin 
^^^id wicked men do dwell, and the godly also have sin 


dwelling in them. For this cause, Paul, (Rom. vii.,) 
complaineth of sin which remaineth in the saints ; yet 
notwithstanding, he saith afterwards in tl^ eighth cbiiEp- 
ter, ** That there is no condemnation to them which aito 
in Christ Jesu." Now, how shall these things, so tott-' 
trary and repugnant, be reconciled together ; — that siii 
in us, is no sin ? that he which is damnable, shall not be 
condemned? that he which is rejected, shall not be 
rejected ? that he which is worthy of the wrath of God 
and everlasting damnation, shall not be punished ? The' 
only reconciler hereof is the Mediator between God and 
man, even Jesus Christ ; as Paul saith, " There is no 
condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesu.** 



JPor we in spirit wait for the hope of righteousness* 
through faith, 

Paul here knitteth up the matter with a notable con- 
clusion ; saying, Ye will be justified by the law, by cii^ 
cumcision, and by works; tiut we seek not to be justified 
by this means, lest Christ should be made utterly unpro- 
fitable unto us, and we become debtors to perform the 
whole law, and so finally fall away from grace; " but we 
wait in spirit through faith for the hope of righteouness.^ 
Every word is here diligently to be noted^ for they are 
pithy and full of power. He doth not only say, as he it 
wont, we are justified by faith, or in spirit by faith, bat 
moreover addeth, " we wait for the hope of righteotis* 
ness," including hope also that he may comprehend the 
whole matter of faith. ■ * 

Hope, after the manner of the scriptures, is taken 
tw o ways ; namely, for the thing that is hoped for, and 
for the aflFection of him that hopeth. For the thing that 
is hoped for, it is taken in the first chapter to the 
Colossians, *' For the hope's sake which is laid up for 


in heiiven : that is to say, the thing which ye hope 
For the affection of him that hopeth, it is taken in 
the eighth chapter to the Romans, ** For vi e are saved 
by hopt:/* So, hope in this place also may be taken two 
WEys, and so it yieldeth a double sense. The first is, we 
wuil in Spirit through faith for the hope of righteous- 
ness ; that is to say, the righteousness hoped for ; which 
iliall be certainly revealed in such time as it pleaseth the 
Lord to give it. The second, we wait in Spirit by faith 
Cbr rigJiteousness with hope and desire; that is to say, 
we are righteous; howbeit our righteousness is not yet 
revealed, but hangeth yet in hope. For as long as we 
KVe here, sin remaineth in our tlesh ; there is also a law 
to our desh and members rebelling against the law of 
our mind, and leading us captives unto the service of 
sin* Now w hen these aft'ections of the flesh do rage and 
mgn« and we on the other side do through the Spirit 
wie^lle against the same, then is there place for hope- 
Indeed, we have begun to be justified through faith- 
Whereby also we have received the first-fruits of the 
Spirit ; and the mortification of the flesh is begun in us, 
bot we be not yet perfectly righteous. It remainetli then 
ih&l we be perfectly justified, and this is it which we 
hope for. So, our righteousness is not yet in actual 
pc»ses,sion, but lieth under hope. 

Tliis is a sweet and sound consolation, whereby 

iflkted and troubled consciences, feeling their sin, and 

tonfied with every fiery dart of the devil, may be mar- 

icOociHly comforted. For the feeling of sin, tlie wrath of 

God, death, hell, and other terrors, are wonderfully strong 

ia die conflict of conscience : as I myselt^ being taught 

by experience, do know. Then counsel must be given to 

tne poor afflicted in this way- Brother, thou desirest to 

have a sensible feeling of thy justification ; that is, thou 

wooldest have such a feeling of God*s favour as thou 

ha&l of thine own sin, but that will not be* But thy 

righteousness ought to sunnount all feeling of sin ; that 

13 to say, thy rightjpousness or justification whereupon 

thou boldest, standeth not upon thine own feeling, but 

upoo die hoping that it shall be revealed unto thee when 


it pleaseth the Lord. Wherefore, thou must not judge 
according to the feeling of sin which troubleth and ter- 
rifieth thee, but according to the promise and doctrine 
of faith, whereby Christ is promised unto thee, who is 
thy perfect and everlasting righteousness. Thus Ae hope 
of the afflicted, consisting in the inward affection, is 
stirred up by faith, in the midst of all terrors and feel- 
ing of sin, to hope that he is righteous. Moreover, if 
hope be here taken for the thing which is hoped for, it 
is thus to be understood : — that, that which a man now 
seeth not, he hopeth, in time, shall be made perfect and 
clearly manifest. 

Either sense may well stand ; but the first, touching 
the inward desires and affections of hoping, bringeth 
more plentiful consolation. For my righteousness is not 
yet perfect, it cannot yet be felt ; yet I do not despair ; 
for faith, sheweth unto me Christ in whom I trust, and 
when I have laid hold of him by faith, 1 wrestle against 
the fiery darts of the devil, and I tak6 a good neait 
through hope against the feeling of sin ; assuring myself, 
that I have a perfect righteousness prepared for me in 
heaven. So both these sayings are true : — that I am 
made righteous already by that righteousness which is 
begun in me ; and also, I am raised up in the same hope 
against sin, and wait for the full consummation of per- 
fect righteousness in heaven. These things are ndt 
rightly understood, but when they are put in practice. 


Here ariseth a question, what difference there is be- 
tween Faith and Hope, llie sophisters and schoohnen 
have laboured very nwch in this matter, but they could 
never show any certainty. Yea to us which travel in the 
holy scriptures with much diligence, and also with more 
fulness and power of spirit, (be it spoken without way 
brag,) it is hard to find any difference. For there is so 
great Rffmity between Faith and Hope, that the one 
cannot be separate from the other. Notwithstanding, 


between them, ivhich is gathered of 
tr several ofFjces, diversity af working, and of their 

Fjrst : They differ in respect of their subject ; that 
ttf of the ground wherein they rest. For faith resteth in 
the understanding, and hope resteth in the wilL But in 
fi»y deed they cannot be separated, the one having 
fespect to the other, as the two cherabim of the mercy- 
teal which could not be divided. 

Secondly : They differ in respect of their office ; 
that is, of their working. For faith telleth what is to be 
done ; it teacheth, prescribeth, and directeth ; and it is 
ft knowlalge. Hope is an exhortation which stirreth up 
ibe mind tliat it may be strong, bold, and courageous, 
that it may suffer and endure adversity, and in the midst 
thereof wait for better things. 

Thirdly : They differ as touching their object ; that 
n, the special matter whereonto they look. For faith 
baitb for her object the truth; teaching us to cleave 
sufdy thereunto, and looketh upon the word and pro- 
mi» of iJie thing that is promised. Hope hath for her 
object tlie goodness of God, and looketh upon the thing 
that is promised in the word ; that is, upon such matters 
10 &ilh teaches us to be hoped for. 

Fourthly : They differ in their oriler : for faith is the 
bcgpnniug of life before all tribulation^ Heb, xi*: but hope 
€anieth afterwards^ proceeding of tribulation, Rom. v. 

Fifthly : They differ l>y the diversity of working: for 
fiulh is & teacher and a judge, fighting against errors and 
heresies, and judging spirits and doctrines : but hope is, 
as it were, the general or captain of the field, fighting 
ilgainsi tribulation, the cross, impatiency, heaviness of 
spirit, weakness, desperation, and blasphemy: and it 
vuteth for good things even in the midst of evils. 

Therefore when I am instructed by faith in the word 
of God, and lay hold of Christ, believing in him with the 
whole heart, then am I righteous by this knowledge. 
Whcu I am so justified by faith, or by this knowledge, 
bT««iid-by cometh the devil, the father of lies, and la- 
bcKiFcth to extinguish my faith by wiles and subtleties ; 

^ s 12 


that is to say, by lies, errors, and heresies. Moreover, 
because he is a murderer, he goeth about to oppress it 
by violence. -Here hope wrestling, layeth hold on the 
thing revealed by faith, and overcometh the devil that 
warreth against faith : and after this victory followeth 
peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. So that in veiy deed 
faith and hope can scarcely be discerned the one iram 
the other ; and yet, is there a certain difference between 
them. And that it may be the better perceived, I wiH 
set out the matter by a similitude. 

In civil govertiment, prudence and fortitude do 
differ ; and yet, these two virtues are so joined together, 
that they cannot easily be severed. Now fortitude is n 
constancy of mind which is not discouraged in adversity, 
but endureth valiantly, and waiteth for better thfaigd. 
But if fortitude be not guided by prudence, it is but te- 
merity and rashness. On the otfier side, if fortitude be 
not joined with prudence, that prudence is but in vain, 
and unprofitable. Even so in divinity, faith widiont* 
hope is nothing. For hope endureth in adversity, and is 
constant therein, and in the end overcometh all evils. 
And on the other side, like as fortitude without pni-^ 
dence is rashness, even so hope without faith is presomp-' 
tion in spirit, and b tempting of God ; for it hath no j 
knowledge of Christ, and of the truth which faith teach- ; 
eth, and therefore it is but a blind rashness and ano-. .^ 
gancy. Wherefore a godly man afore all things, miis(^' ' 
have a right understanding, instructed by faith, accardiqg ; 
to the which the mind may be guided jn afflictions, that 1 
^ it may hope for those good things which faith hath le^ » 
vealed and taught. ; ■ ' 

To be short: Faith is conceived by teaching; for// 
thereby the mind is instructed what the truth is. Hope *| 
is conceived by exhortation ; for by exhortation hope ii J 
stirred in afflictions, which confirmeth him that is al- ; 
ready justified by faith, that he be not overcome by ad- • 
versities, but that he may be able more strongly to rarist' 
them. Notwithstanding, if the spark of faith should not 
give light to the will, it could not be persuaded to lay 
hold upon hope. We have faith then whereby we are 



tuight, we understand, and know the heavenly wisdom, 

•ppreheod Christ, and continue in his grace. But as 

soon as we lay hold upon Christ by faith, and conless 

Um, forthwith our enemies, the world, the flesh, and the 

ilevil, rise up against us, hating and persecuting us most 

ciiieUy both in body and spirit. Wherefore, wc thus be- 

Beving and justified by faith, '^ in spirit do wait for the 

hope of our righteousness." And we wait through pa- 

tiencCy for we see and feel the flat contrary. l*or the 

world with his prince, the devil, assaileth us mightily 

both within and without. Moreover, sin yet still rcmaineth 

m as which driveth into heaviness. Notwithstanding, 

ve give not over for all this, but raise up our minds 

ibragiy through faith, which lighteneth, teacheth, and 

pirieth the same. And thus we abide firm and constant, 

ttd overcome all adversities through him which hath 

bved us, until our righteousness which we believe and 

•ait for, be revealed. By faith therefore we began, by 

bope we continue, and by revelation wc shall obtain the 

vbole. In the mean time, whilst we live here, l)ecuuse 

wc believe, we teach the word and publish the know- 

ledge of Christ unto others. ITius doing wc suHbr |>orse- 

cation (according to this text, *' I believed and therefore 

Hd I speak, and I was sore troubled,*') with patience, 

bong strengthened and encouraged through iiope: 

vlMveunto the scripture exhorteth us witli most sweet 

and comfortable promises, taught and revealed unto us 

by faith. And thus doth hope spring u|) and increase in 

■s, Rom. XV. That through patience and comfort of the 

scriptures, we may have hope. 

Paul therefore, not without cause, joineth patience 
in tribulation, and hope together, in the tifth and eighth 
to die Romans, and in other places also, for l)y them 
hope i»L stirred up. But faith (as also I have shewed 
before) goeth before hope : for it is the beginning of 
Gfe, and bcginneth before all tribulation ; for it learneth 
Christ, and apprehendeth him without the cross. Not- 
vilfastanding, the knowledge of Christ cannot be long 
vidioat the cross, without troubles and conflicts. In this 
the mind must be stirred up to a fortitude of spirit 



(for hope is nothing else but a spirituai fortitade, as faith 
is nothing else but a spiritual prudence) which coDsist- 
eth in sutiering, according to this saying, ** That throa^ 
patience," &c. These three tilings then dwell together in 
the faithful ; — Faitfi, which teacheth the truth, and de- 
fendeth from errors ; Hope, which endureth and over^ 
Cometh all adversities, as well bodily as ghostly ; and 
Charity, which worketh all good things, as it foUowetfa 
in the text. And so is a man entire and perfect in diis 
life, as well within as without, until the righteousness be 
revealed which he waiteth for ; and this shall be a per- 
fect and everlasting righteousness. 

Moreover, this place containeth a singular doctrine 
and consolation. As touching the doctrine, it shewedi 
that we are made righteous, not by the works, sacrifioisSy 
or ceremonies of Moses's law, much less by the works 
and traditions of men, but by Christ alone. Whatsoever 
then the world counted to be good and holy witbcml 
Christ, is nothing else but sin, error, and flesh. Where- 
fore circumcision, and the observation of the law also, 
the works, religions, and vows of the Monks^ and of aU 
such as trust in their own righteousness, are altogether 
carnal. But we, saith Paul, are far above all these 
things in the spirit and inward man, for we possess 
Christ by faith, and in the midst of our aflSictions 
through hope, we wait for that righteousness which we 
possess already by faith. 

The comfort is this: that in serious conflicts and 
terrors, wherein the feeling of sin, heaviness of spirit, 
desperation and such like is very strong, (for they enter 
deeply into the heart and mightily assail it,) thou must 
not follow thine own feeling ; for if thou do, thou wilt 
say, I feel the horrible terrors of tlie law, and the 
tyranny of sni, not only rebellmg against me, hjat also . 
subduing mc, and leading me captive; and I feel no 
comfort or righteousness at all. Theretbre I am a sinner, 
and not righteous. If I be a sinner, then am I guilty 
of everlasting death. But against this feeling thou 
must wrestle and say, Altliough I feel myself utterly 
overwhelmed and swallowed u{) with sin : and my heart 


leUeth me that God is oftended and angry with me, yet 
in very deed it is not true, but my own sense and feeling 
w judgelh* The word of God, (which in these terrors I 
Ottgjhl to follow^ and not mine own sense,) teacheth a far 
other thing ; namely, that God is near unto theni that 
Affc of ** a troubled heart, and saveth them that are 
of an humble spirit," Also " He despiseth not an 
humble and a contrite heart." Moreover Paul shewelh 
here, that they which are justified in spirit by faith, do 
not feel the hope of righteousness, i>ut still wait for it. 

Wlierefore, when the law aecusetli and sin tcrrifietli 
thee, and thou feelcst nothing but the wrath and indig- 
MtioQ of God, despair not for all that, but take unto 
Ihee the armour of God, the shield of faith, the hehuet 
of hope, and the sword of the Spirit, and try how good 
mA how valiant a warrior thou art. Lay hold of Christ 
by fei* ' > is the Lord of the law and of sin, antl of 
ait diii ^ which accompany them. Believing in htm, 
tlKm art justified : which thing reason and the feeling of 
thioe own heart, wlien thou art tempted, do not tel! thee, 
but the word of God. Moreover in the midst of these 
cxmllicLs and terrors, which often return and exercise 
ihee, wait thou patiendy through hope for rigliteousness, 
which thou hast now by faith, although it be yet but 
_ II and imperfect, until it be revealed and made per- 
tect m the kingdom of heaven. 

But tliou wilt say : I feel not myself to have any 
lijl^teoiisness, or at least I feel it but very little, — Thou 
must not feel, but believe, that thou hast righteousness. 
Ami except thou believe that thou art righteous, diou 
dcic^ great injury unto Christ, who hath cleansed dice 
hf the w*ashing of water througli the word ; who also died 
Qpoti the cross, condemned sin, and killed death; that 
through him thou nxightest obtain righteousness and 
t\. ' -^'ig life. These things thou canst not deny; 
(e. , liiou wilt openly shew^ thyself to be wicked and 
Uasphemous against God, and utterly to despise God, 
ill his promises, and Jesus Christ, with all his benefits;) 
ttid so consequently, thou canst not deny but that thou 
art righteous. 

Let us learn therefore in great and horrible terrors, 



trhen our conscience feeleth nothing but sin, and judgefh 
that God is angry with us, and that Christ hath turned 
his face from us, not to follow th6 sense and feeling of 
our own heart, but to stick to the wortl of God^ which 
saith, that God is not angry, but looketh to the afflicted, 
and to such as are troubled in spirit, and tremble at his 
word (Isaiah Ixvi. 2) ; and that Christ tumeth not him- 
self away from such as labour and are heavy laden, but * 
refresheth and comforteth them, (Matt. xi. 28.) This 
place therefore teacheth plainly, that the law and works 
bring unto us no righteousness or comfort at all ; but 
this doth the Holy Ghost only in the faith of Christ, who 
raiseth up hope in terrors and tribulations, which en- 
dureth and overcometh all adversities. Very few there be 
that know how weak and feeble faith and hope are 
under the cross and in the conflict. For it geemeth ihff 
are but as smoking flax which is ready by-and-by to to 
put out by a vehement wind. But the faithful who believe 
in the midst of these assaults and terrors hoping against 
hope ; that is to say, fighting through faith in the pro- 
mise as touching Christ a:gainst the ieeling of sin and of 
the wrath of God, do afterwards find by experience, that 
this spark of faith being very little, (as it appeareth to na- 
tural reason, for reason can scarcely feel it,) is a mighty 
fire, and swalloweth up all our sins and all our terrors. 

There is nothing more dear or precious in all the. ^ 
world to the true children of God than this doctrine. 
For they that understand this doctrine, do know that 
whereof all the world are ignorant : namely, that sin, 
death, and all other miseries, afflictions and calamities, 
as well corporal as spiritual, do turn to the benefit and 
profit of the elect. Moreover they know, that God is dien 
most near unto them when he seemeth to be farthest oflT, 
and that he is then a most merciful and loving Saviour 
when he seemeth to be most angry, to afflict, and to 
destroy. Also they know, that they have an everlasting 
righteousness, which they wait for through hope, as a 
certain and sore possession laid up for them in heaven, 
even when they feel the horrible terrors of sin and 
death. Moreover, that they are then lords of all thbg», 
when they are most destitute of all things according to 


tbmt s^ing, *^ Having nothing, and yet poAse85ing all 
liiii^, 2 Cor. vi. 10. This, saith the scripture, is to 
eoDceive comfort through hope. But this cunning is not 
kamed withont great and often temptations. 



* When a man doth any good work, Ciod accepteth 

it, and for that work he poureth into him charity : * which 

they call, charity infused. This charity (say they) is a 

qinJi^ remaining in the heart, and this they call formal 

righteousness; which manner of speaking, it is ex|>e- 

i&Dt for yoa to know. And they can abide nothing 

less, than to hear that this quality forming and adorning 

the sool, as whiteness doth a wall, should not be countra 

nghtBooaieas. They can climb no higher than to this 

odgptation of man*s reason, — that man is righteous by his 

oirn formal righteousness, which is grace making him 

acceptable unto God ; that is to say, charity. So, to this 

quality cleaving unto the soul, that is to wit, charity, 

(whicn is a work after the law, for tlie law saith thou 

slialt love the Lord thy God, &c.) they attribute righte- 

oosaess; that is to say, true Christian righteousness; 

and they say, that this righteousness is worthy of ever- 

lastiDg life, and he that hatli it is formally righteous; and 

moreover, he is effectually or actually righteous, Ixxrause 

he now doth good works whereunto everlasting life is 

doe. This is the opinion of the Popish schoolmen, yea, 

even of the best of them all. 

Some other there be which are not so good, as 
Seotas, and Occam ; which said, that for the obtaining 
of the grace of God, this charity infused or given of 
God is not necessary, but that a man, even by his own na- 
tural strength, may procure this charity above all things. 
For 80 reasoneth Scotus. — If a man love a creature, a 
yoong man a maiden, a covetous^man money, which are 
less good, he may also love God which is the greater 
good. If be have a love of the creature through his na- 
tnnd stnog^i much more hath be a love to the Creator. 


With this argument were all the sophisters convicted, 
^d none of them was able to refute it. Notwithstanding 
thus they reply — 

The scripture compelleth us to confess (say they) 
that God, beside tlie natural love and charity which is 
ingrafted in u§, (wherewith alone he is not "contented,) 
requireth also charity which he himself giveth. And 
hereby they accuse God as a tyrant and a cruel exactor, 
who is not content that we keep and fulfil his law, but 
above the law, (which we ourselv^ are all to fulfil,) re- 
quireth also, that we should accomplish it with other cir- 
cumstances and furniture, as apparel to the same. As if 
a mistress should not be contented that her cook had 
dressed her meat excellently well, but should chide her 
for that she did not prepare the 6ame, being decked 
with precious apparel, and adorned with a crown of 
gold. Now what a mistress were this, who, when het 
cook had done all that she was bound to do, and also 
exactly performed the same, would moreover require 
that she should wear such ornaments as she could nol 
have ? Even so, what a one should God be, if he should 
require his law to be fulfilled of us, (which notwithstand- 
ing by our own natural strength we observe and fulfil^ 
with such furniture as we cannot have ? 

But here, lest they should seem to avouch contrary 
things, they make a distinction, and say, that the law is 
fulfilled two manner of ways. First, according to the 
substance of the deed ; and secondly, according to the 
mind of the commander. According to the substance of 
the deed (say they) we may fulfil all things which the 
law commandeth, but not according to the mind of the 
commander : which is, that God is not coqtented that 
thou hast done all things which are commanded in the 
law, (although he can require no more of thee,) but he 
further requireth that thou shouldst fulfil the law in char 
rity : not that charity which thou hast by nature, but 
that which is above nature, and heavenly, which he him- 
self giveth. And what is this else but to make God a 
tyrant and a tormentor, which requireth that of us 
which we are not able to perform ? And it is in. a man- 

tier as much as if he should say, that the fault is not io 
OS, if we be ilaninedj but in God, which, uitli this cir- 
cmnslance requireth his law to be accomplished of us. 

These things I do the more diligently repeat, that 
you may see how far they have strayed from tlie true 
aense of the scripture, wliich have said that by our own 
Mbatural strength we may love God above all things ; or 
at least, by the work wrought we may deserve grace and 
everlasting hfe. And because God is not content that 
we fulfil the law according to the substance of the deed, 
bat will have us also to fulfil tlie same according to the 
mind of the commander* Therefore the scripture farther 
COtDpelleth us to have a quality above nature poured 
iBto us from above, and that is charity ; which they call 
formal righteousness adorning and beautitying faith, 
being also the cause that faith jiistifleth us. So faith is 
the body, and the shell ; charity the life, the kernel, the 
form and furniture. These are the monstrous dreams of 
the schoolmen. 

But we, instead of this cliarity, do place faith : and 
nesay, that faith apprehendeth Jesus Christ, who is the 
form which adorneth and furnislieth hiih as the colour 
adometh and beautifieth the wall. Christian faith ^ there- 
fore, is not an idle quality or empty husk in the heart, 
which may be in deadly sin until charity come and 
quicken it ; but, if it be true faith, it is a sure trust and 
conhdence of the heart, and a firm consent whereby 
Cbrbl is apprehended. So that Christ is the object of 
feith, yea rather, even in faith Christ himself is present. 
Faith, therefore, is a certain obscure knowledge, or ra- 
dier darkness which seeth nothing; and yet, Christ ap- 
prehended by faith sitteth in this darkness, like as God 
in Sinai and in the temple sat in die midst of darkness, 
(Exod, xix. 9- 1 Kings viii. 10.) Wherefore, our formal 
f^teousness is not charity beautifying and furnishing 
laiih, but it is taitli itself, which is as it were a certain 
cloud in our hearts : that is to say, a steadfast trust and 
affiance in the thing which we see not, which is Christ : 
who, although he be not seen at ail, yet is he present. 

f aitli therefore justifieth, because it apprehendeth 


aiid possesseth this treasure, even Christ present. But 
this presence cannot be comprehended of us, because it 
is in darkness as I have said. Wherefore, where assured 
trust and affiance of the heart is, there Christ is present; 
yea even in the cloud and obscurity of faith. And this 
is the true formal righteousness whereby a man is justi- 
fied, and not by charity as the Popish schoolmen do 
most wickedly affirm. 

To conclude, like as the schoolmen say that charity 
fiirnisheth and adom'eth faith, so do we say, that it is 
Christ which fumisheth and adometh faith ; or rather, 
that he is the very form and perfection of faith. Where- 
fore, Christ apprehended by faith and dwelling in the 
heart, is the true Christian righteousness for the which 
God counteth us righteous and giveth us eternal life. 
Here is no work of the law, no charity, but a far other 
manner of righteousness, and a certain new world be- 

Jrond and above the law. For Christ or faith is not the 
aw, nor the work of the law ! 



Who are kept by the power of God through faith. 

We (saith he) in hope wait for that glorious inheri- 
tance into which we have come by faith. For these 
things take place in this order. — Faith is begotten by 
the word; our new-birth is by this faith; and by this 
new-birdi we are translated into that hope ; wherein, we 
with certainty wait for those good things, being fully as- 
sured of them. Wherefore, Peter here properly saith, 
that these things come tlirough faith, not through 6ur 
own works. 

Moreover, Peter here significantly saith that we are 
** kept by the power of God unto salvation." For there 
are many, who, having heard the Gospel, that faith only 
justifies without works, immediately rush forward and 
say, * And we too believe:' imagining, that the fancy 
which they form out to themselves, is faith. Whereas we 


have tau^y and that out of the scriptores, that it is not 

in Dor own power to do even the least works without the 

Spirit of God. How then shall we arrogate to ourselves 

the power of doing that by our own powers which is the 

greatest of all works — ^to believe ? Such cogitations as 

these, therefore, are mere figments and dreams. The 

power of God must be ptesent with ua, which may work 

in us, as Paul sets it forth in the Ephesians, chap. L 

^' God gave unto you the Spirit of wisdom, that ye may 

know what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us 

ward, who believe according to the working of his 

mighty power," &c. For it is not only of the will of 

Goii, but of a certain power, that we believe : for such 

is this mighty concern, that, to create faith in any one, is 

a work of no less moment than it was to create heaven 

and earth. 

Heoce, it is manifest that those know not what they 
say, wiio say. How is it that faith can do all things, see- 
ing that, many believe who do no good work whatever ? 
For they imagine that their dream is faith, and tliat faith 
can exist without good works. We however say with 
Peter that faith is the power of God : and in whom- 
soever God works this faith, he is bom again and 
comes forth a new creature ; and then, from this faith, 
there follows, naturally, nothing but good works. Where- 
fore, it is .without cause that you say to a Christian do 
this or that goodVork ; because, without any command- 
ing, he does nothing but work good works spontane- 
ously. AH that he requires is to be admonished, that he 
deceive not himself with that false and fictitious faith. 
Therefore, away with these empty vain talkers who have 
plenty of prating about those things which are nothing 
bat a froth and vanity of words : concerning whom 
Paul saith, 1 Cor. iv. " I will come unto you, and will 
know not the words of them that are puffed up, but the 
power. For the kingdom of God standcth not in word 
but in power." Where this power of God is wanting, 
thoe, neidier true faith, nor any good works exist 
Wherefore, they are open liars, who boast of the name 
md'fiuth of Christ, and yet, neverthedess live a repro- 


bate life. For niidoubtedly, if the power of God were 
upon them, they must be differeut persons. 

But what does Peter mean when he saith, "MTk) 
are kept by the power of God upto salvation ?"-t- That 
this fidth, which the power of God, (which is present 
with us, and of which we are full,) work9 in us, is a 
matter so excellent and so great, that by it, we have a 
clear and certain knowledge of all those things which 
pertain unto salvation, and are able by it to judge and 
freely pronounce sentence on all things which are in the 
world. This doctrine is pure, the other false ; this life is 
acceptable, the other reprobate ; this working is good, the 
other evil. And whatsoever a man of this kind determi- 
nately declares, it is so, and is truth. For he cannot be 
deceived, but is preserved and kept by the power of 
God, and stands a judge of all doctrine. 

On the other hand, where faith and the power of 
God are wanting, there is nothing but error and blind- 
ness. There reason is driven, now to this work, now to 
that : because it is imagining to ascend into heaven by 
its own works, and is ever thinking thus : — Behold this 
shall bring thee to heaven ! Do this and thou shalt cer- 
tainly be made partaker of felicity. Hence it is that 
those numberless floods of colleges, monasteries, altars, 
priesthoods, and monkeries, have spread themsdves 
over the world. Into such blindness does God permit 
them to fall who do not believe. Whereas, in us who b^ 
lieve he keeps a sound mind in all things, that we might 
not be damned under this blindness, but might attain 
unto salvation. 



WTio gave himself for our sins. 

Paul, - in a manner, in every word handleth the ar 
gument of this Epistle. He hath nothing in his mouth 
but Christ, and therefore in every word there is a fer- 


vcncy of spirit and' life. And mark how wellfind to th^ 
purpus^e fie speaketh. He saith not, who liath receiveti 
our works at our- hands, nor who hath received the sa- 
criHces of Moses's law, worshippings, religions, masses, 
voms, and pilgrimages, but *' hath given/' What? Not 
gald^ nor silver, nor beasts, nor paschal lambs, nor an 
«agd, but " himself." For what ? Not for a crown, not 
for a kingdom, not for our holiness or righteousness, but 
** for our sins/' These words are very thunder-claps from 
baftiTieo against all kinds of righteousness. Like as is 
also this sentence of John, ** Behold the Iamb of CJod 
dua taketh away the sins of the world/' Therefore we 
must %vith dihgent attention mark every word of Paul, 
lAci not slenderly consider them or lightly pass them 
Ofcr, for they are full of consolation, and confirm fearful 
coiKiciences exceedingly* 

But how may we obtain remission of our sins ? 
Paul an«wcreth, that the man which is called Jesus 
Clcbi the Son of God, hath given himself for them. 
These are excellent and most comfortable words, and are 
promtses of the whole law, — that our sins are taken away 
by none other mean than by the Son of God delivered 
mci death. With such gun-shot and such artillery must 
the Papacy be destroyed, and all the religions of the 
hut he 11, all works, all merits, and superstitious ceremo- 
■Ba. For if our sins may be taken away by our own 
lorks^ merits, and satisfactions, what needeil the Son of 
Ood to be given for them? But seeing lie was given for 
it folJowcth, that we cannot put them away by our 
AgnD : by this sentence it is declared, that our sins 
gieat, so infinite and invinctble, that it is tmpos- 
fer the whole world to satisfy for one of them : and 
the greatness of the ransom, (namely, Christ the 
'a( God, who gave himself for our sins,) declareth 
* iy, that we can neither satisfy for sin, nor have 
over it- The force and power of it is set forth 
exceedingly by these words, ** wh^ crave 
* Therefore, here is to b^ 
o[ the price bestowed fl 

then will it appear evidently, that the power of it is 
so great that by no means it could jbe put away, but that 
the Son of God must needs be given for it. He that COQ- 
sidereth these things, well understandeth, that this woid 
SIN coiaprehendeth God's everlasting wrath and die 
whole- kingdom of Satan, and that it is a thing more 
horrible than can be expressed ; which ought to move^ 
us and make us afraid indeed. But we are careless, yea, 
we make light of sin and a matter of nothing, which al- 
though it bring with it a sting and remorse of conscienee^ * 
yet notwithstanding, we think it not to be of such wei^^- 
and force, but that by some little work or merit we maj ' 
put it away. This sentence therefore witnesseth, that alt 
men are servants and bond-slaves of sin, and, (as Paul 
saith in another place,) ^' sold under sin." And agaiiit" 
that sin is a most cruel and mighty tyrant over all men; - 
which cannot be vanquished by the power of any crea-' 
tures, whether they be angels or men, but by the sovoh 
reign and infinite power of Jesus Christ, ** who hatk, 
given himself for the same." 

Furthermore this sentence setteth out to the coo- , 
sciences of all men which are terrified with the greatness , 
of their sins, a singular comfort. For albeit sin be never 
so invincible a tyrant, yet notwithstanding, for as moell | 
as Christ hath overcome it through his death, it canMt^ | 
hurt them that believe in him. Moreover, if we aMi , 
ourselves with this belief, and cleave with cdl our hearts 
unto this man Jesus Christ, then is there a light opeoeii' | 
and a sound judgment given unto us, so as we may m0tit | 
certainly and freely judge of all kinds of life. For whea* : 
we hear that sin is such an invincible tyrant^ thus, in* 
continent, by as necessary consequence we infer, — then, 
what do Papists, Monks, Nuns, Priests, Mahometiata^ , 
Anabaptists, and all such as trust in their works, whidfr* 
will abolish and overcome sin by their own traditiont, • 
works preparative, satisfactions, &c. ? Here forthwith* 
we judge all those sects to be wicked and pemicio«i»:* 
whereby the glory of God and of Christ is not only dch' 
faced, but also utterly taken away, and our own ad^ 
vanced and established. 


Bot weigh dilif^ently every wwd of Paul ; ami espe* 
dally, mark well the pronoun oua ; for die eflfect alio- 
gethier coDsisteth in the well applying of the pronouna 
vfakh H-e find often in the scriptures; wherein also 
dm is some vehemency and power. Thou wil^easily 
ijfttid believe^ that Christ the Son of God was given 
far the sins of Peter, of Paul, and of other saints whom 
ve account to have been worthy of this grace. But it is 
ivay hard thing that thou, which judgest thyself un- 
worthy of this grace, shouldest from thy heart say and 
bdieve, that Christ was given for thine invincible, infi- 
aifie, and horrible sins. Therefore, generally, and u ithout 
theprcmoun, it is an easy matter to magnify and amplify 
the benefit of Christ ; namely, that Chjriht wa.s given for 
sins, but for other men's sins which are worthy. Uut 
vfaoi it Cometh to the putting to of this pronoun our, 
diere our weak nature and reason starteth back, and dare 
not come near unto God, nor promise to herself tliat so 
^eat a treasure should be truly given unto her ; and 
theiefore, she will not have to do with God except first 
fihe be pure and without sin. Wherefore, althoui^h she 
bear or read this sentence, '' Who gave himself for our 
yfaw,^ or such like, yet doth she not apply this pronoun 
oua unto herself, but unto others which are worthy and 
baly ; and as for herself, she will tarry till she be made 
northy by her own works. 

This then is nothing else but that man's reason fain 
would, that sin were of no greater force and power than 
ihe herself dreameth it to be. Hereof it cometh, that hy- 
pocrites, being ignorant of Christ, although they feel 
the remorse of sin, do think notwithstanding, that they 
shall be able easily to put it away by their good works 
and merits ; and secretly in their hearts they wish, that 
these words, " Who gave himself for our sins," were 
bm as words spoken in humility ; and would have 
fteir sins not to be true and very sins indeed, but 
ti^t and small matters. To be snort, man*s reason 
would fain bring and present to God a feigned and coun- 
tcffeit sinner, which is nothing afraid nor hath any feel- 
ing of sin. It would bring hun that is whole, and not 



him that hath need of a phydician : a&d when it feeleth 
no sin, then it would believe that Christ was given for 
our sins. 

The whole world is thus affected : and especially, 
they that would be counted more holy and religious ttian 
others, as monks and justiciaries. These confess with 
their mouth that they are sinfiers, and they confess aliiO' 
that they commit sins daily ; howbeit, not so great and- 
many, but that they are able to put them away by their 
own works. Yea, arid besides all this, they will bring 
their righteousness and deserts to Christ's judgment- 
seat, and demand the recompence of eternal life firf* - 
them at the judge's hand. In the meanwhile, notwith- 
standing, (as they pretend great humility,) because they' 
will not vaunt themselves to be utterly devoid of sin, 
they feign certain sins, that for the forgiveness thereof 
they may with great devotion pray with the publican, 
" God be merciful to me a sinner.'^ Unto them thc^' 
words of St. Paul, ** for our sins," seem to be but light 
and trifling: therefore, they neither understand them, 
nor in temptation, when they feel sin indeed, can they 
take any comfort of them, but are compelled flatly to 

This is then the chief knowledge and true wisdom' 
of Christians, — to count these words of Paul, thai' . 
Christ was delivered to death, not for our righteousness,^ 
or holiness, but "for our sins," (which are very sins 
indeed, great, many, yea infinite, invincible^) to be most* 
true, effectual, and of great importance. Therefore, think" 
them not to be small and such as may be done away by' 
thine own works ; neither yet despair thou for the grecA- . 
ness of them, if thou feel thyself oppressed therewith' 
either in life or death ; but learn here of Paul to believ^- 
that Christ was given, not for feigned or counterfeit sins; ' 
nor yet for small sins, but for great and huge sins : not 
for one or two, but for all : not for vanqtiished sins (fo*^ 
no man, no nor aiigel is able to overcome the least sin** 
that is) but for invincible sins. And except thou bcT* 
found ifithe number of those that say " our sins ;" that' 
is, which have this doctrine of faith, and teach, hear,' - 

l^am, love^ and believe the same, there is no salvation 
for thee I ^ 

Labour therefore diligently, that not only out of the 
time of temptation, but also in the danger and conflict 
. when thy conscience is thoroughly afraid with 
.*-, .V ii.cmbrance of thy sins past, and the devil assail- 
eth thee with great violence, going about to overwhelm 
I thee with heaps, floods, and whole seas of sins, to ter- 
^v tliee, to draw thee from Christ, and to drive thee to 
/.tir; that then, I say, thou mayest be able to say 
I with sure confidence, * Christ the Son of God was given, 
tiot for the righteous and holy, but for the unrighteous 
and sinners. If I were righteous and had no sin > I should 
bve no need of Christ to be ray reconciler. Why then, 
Otbou peevish, holy Satan» wilt thou make me to lie 
holy, and to seek righteousness in myself, when in very 
deed I have nothitig in me but sins and most grievous 
sias: not feigned or trifling sins/but such as are agaiqsl^ 
tbe first table; to wit, great infidelity; doubting; despair; 
cootempt of God; hatred; ignorance, and blaspheming 
ot' God ; unthankfuhiess ; abusing of God's name; 
' neglecting, loathing, and despising the w ord ; and such 
like. And moreover, these carnal sins against the second 
(&ble ; as not to yield honour to my parents; not to obey 
tbe magistrates ; to covet other men's goods, his wife, 
ud such like : albeit that these be light faults in respect 
of those former sins* And admit that I have not com- 
mitteti murder, whoredom, theft, and such other sins 
^ain^t the second table, in fact; yet, I have committed 
mem in heart ; and therefore I am a transgressor of all 
Gud^s commandments, and tlie multitude of my sins is 
fo great that they cannot be numbered ; for 1 have. 
sinoed al>ove the number of the sand of the sea/ 

Besides this, Satan is such a cunning juggler, that, 
he can make of my righteousness and good works, grcat^ 
sins. For so much then as my sins are so weighty, so in-j 
fin?^^i M> horrible and invincible ; and that my righteous-r;, 
Dcsft doth nothing further me, but rather hinder m^^ 
_ b^QK Qod ; therefore, Christ the Son o^ God was given 
VtffS&th for them to put them away, and so save all men 

U ■ 




which believe. Herein, therefore, consisteth the effect of 
eternal salvation : namely, in taking these words to be 
effectual, true, and of great importance. I say not this 
for nought, for I have oftentimes proved by experience, 
and I daily find, what an hard matter it is to beliieve,' 
(especially in the conflict of conscience,) that Christ was 
given, not for the holy, righteous, worthy, and such as 
were his friends ; but for wicked sinners, for the unwor- 
thy, and for his enemies which have deserved God's 
wrath and everlasting death. 

Let us, therefore, arqa ourselves with these and sudi 
like sentences of the holy scripture, that we may be able 
to answer the devil, (accusing us and saying thou art a 
sinner, and therefore thou art damned,) in this sort. — 
Because thou sayest I am a sinner, therefore will I be 
righteous and saved. Nay (saith the devil) thou shalt be 
danmed. No (say I) for I fly unto Christ " who hath 
given himself for my sins;" therefore, Satan, thou shalt 
not prevail against me in that thou goest about to terrify 
me in setting forth the greatness of my sins, and so to 
bring me into heaviness, distrust, despair, hatred, con- 
tempt, and blaspheming of God. Yea rather, in that 
thou sayest I am a sinner, thou givest me armour and 
weapon against thyself, that with thine own sword I may 
cut thy throat and tread thee under my feet: for Christ 
died for sinners. Moreover, thou thyself preachest unto ' 
me the glory of God ; for thou puttest me in mind of - 
God's fatherly love towards me a wretched and damned 
sinner ; " who so loved the world, that he gave his only^ 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should 
not perish, but have everlasting life." Also as often as^ 
thou objectest that I am a sinner, so often thou callest 
me to remembrance of the benefit of Christ my Re-* 
deemer ; upon whose shoulders, and not upon mine, lie 
all my sins ; for, ** The Lord hath laid upon him the^ 
iniquities of us all ; " again, " For the transgression of 
his people was he smitten." Wherefore, when thou^ 
sayest I am a sinner, thou dost not terrify me, but com* ' 
fort me above measure. 

Whoso knoweth this one point of cunning well, shall 


eisBy avoid all the engines and snares of the devil ; whc? 

by putting man in mind of his sins, driveth him to 

ocBpair and de?^troyeth him ; unless he withstand him 

with his cunning and with this heavenly wisdom, whereby 

only, sin^ death, and the devil, are overcome. But the 

man that putteth not away the remembrance of his sin, 

but keepeth it still and tormenieth himself with his emu 

cog^tionSy thinking either to help himself by his own 

ftreogth and policy, or to tarry the time until his con- 

srience may be quieted, falleth into Satan s snares, and 

miserably afBicteth himself, and at length is overcome 

^iih the continuance of the temptations : for the devil 

will never cease to accuse his conscience. 

Against this temptation we must use these words of 

Paul, in the which he giveth a very true definition of 

Christ in this manner* — Christ is the Son of God and 

<rf the Virgin, delivered and put to death for our sins. 

Here, if the devil allege any other definition of Christ, 

say thou, The definition and the thing defined ere false ; 

therefore, I will not receive this definition- I speak not 

ibts without cause ; for I know what moveth me to be 

80 earnest that we should learn to define Christ out of 

die words of Paul. For indeed Christ is no cruel 

wftctor, but a forgiver of the sins of the whole world, 

refore, if thou be a sinner, (as indeed we are all,) 

>fi ijot Christ down upon the rainbow as a judge, (for 

» shah thou be terrified and despair of his mercy,) but 

take hold of his true definition ; namely, that Christ the 

Son of God and the Virgin, is a person, not that terri- 

fieth, not that afflicteth, not that condemneth us of sin, 

oot that demandeth an account of us for our lives evilly 

past, but that ** hath given himself for our sins, ' and, with 

one oblation, hath put away the sins of the whole world, 

hath fastened tliem upon the cross, and put them clean 

out by himself. 

Learn this definition diligently; and especially, so 
dtercise this pronoun our, that this one syllable being 
br**— r^ may swallow up all thy sins; that is to say, 
tJi a mayest know assuredly that Christ hath taken 

away the sins, not of certain men only, but also of thee, 


and of the whole world. Then let not thy sins be sin's, 
but even thy own sins indeed : that is, to wit, believe 
thou that Christ was not only given for other men's 
sins, but also for thine. Hold this fa^t, and suffer not 
thyself by any means to be drawn away from this sweet 
definition of Christ, which rejoiceth even the very angeb 
in heaven ; that is to say, that Christ, according to the 
proper and true definition, is no Moses, no lawgiver, no 
tyrant, but a mediator for sins, a free giver of grace, 
righteousness, and life, who ^ve himself, not for our 
merits, holiness, righteousness, and godly life, but ** for 
pur sins." Indeed, Christ doth interpret the law, but 
that is not his proper and principal office. 

These things as touching the words we know well 
enough, and can talk of them, but in practice and in 
conflict, when the devil goeth about to deface Christ, 
and to pluck the word of grace out of our hearts, we 
find that we do not yet know them well and as we should 
do. He that, at that time, could define Christ truly, an^ 
could magnify him and behold him as his most sweet 
Saviour and High-Priest, and not as a strict judge, this 
man had overcome all evils, and were already in the 
kingdom of heaven. But this to do in the conflict, is of 
all things the most hard. I speak this by experience. 
For I know the devil's subtleties ; who, at one time, not 
only goeth about to fear us with the terror of the law, 
yea and also of a little mote maketh many beams ; that 
is to say, of that which is no sin he maketh a very hell, 
(for he is marvellous crafty both in aggravating sin and 
in puffing up the conscience even in good works,) but 
also is wont to fear us with the very person of the Me- 
jdiator; into the which he transformeth himself, and 
laying before us some place of the scripture, or some 
saying of Christ, suddenly he striketh our hearts, and 
sheweth himself unto us in such sort, as if he weie 
Christ indeed ; leaving us slicking so fast in that 0001- 
tation, that our conscience would swear it were toe 
same Christ whose saying he alleged. Moreover, su^is 
the subtlety of the enemy, that he will not set before ^9 
Christ entirely ami wholly, but a piece of Christ oi^y. 

Dttifiely that he is the Son of God, and man bom of the 
Virgin; and by-and-by^ patcheth Uiere some other 
cbtng ; that is to say, some saying of Christ wherewith 
be terrifieth the impenitent sinner, such as that in the 
1 Jth of Luke, '* Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise 
perish;** and so, corruptinj^ the true dtjfinition of Christ 
with his poison, he bringeth to pass, that albeit we be- 
lieve him to be Christ the true Mediator, yet in very 
deed our troubled conscience feeleth and judgeth him to 
be a tyrant and a judge. Thus, we being deceived by 
Sfttan, do easily lose the sweet sight of our High- 
Priest and Saviour Christ : which being once lost, we 
shoo him no kss than the devil himself. 

And this is the cause, why I do so earnestly call upon 

you to learn the true and proper definition of Christ out 

of these words of Paul, " who gave himself for our 

liiis." If he gave himself to death for our sins, then 

trndonbtedly lie is no tyrant or judge, which will condemn 

as for our sins; he is no caster down of the afflicted, but 

a miser up of those that are fallen ; a mercitul reliever 

Old comforter of the heavy and broken-hearted. Else 

sboald Paul lie in saying, ** v/ho gave himself for our 

siits/^ If I define Christ thus, I define him rightly, and 

tike bold of the true Christ and possess him indeed. 

And here, I let pass all curious speculations touching 

the divine Majesty, and I stay myself in the humanity 

of Christ ; and so, I learn truly to know the w ill of 

God. Here is then no fear, but altogether sweetness, 

joy, peace of conscience, and such like. And here withal 

there is a light opened, which sheweth me the true 

knowledge of God, of myself, and of all creatures, and 

dll the iniquities of the devifs kingdom. We teach no 

new tiling, but we repeat and establish old things which 

the apostles and all godly teachers have taught before 

us. And would to God we could so teach and establish 

tbem, that we might not only have them in our mouth, 

but al*c> well-grounded in the bottom of our heart ; and 

especiaily^ that we may l>e able to use them in the 

agony and conflict of death. 


Matthew xii. 

There are six sins against the Holy Ghost : whkh^ 
although they be essentially the same, yet differ in their 
actings, or rather in their sinful workings. — Presump- 
tion, fighting against the known truth, obstinacy, despe- 
ration, envy of the grace in a brother, and nnal im- 

These ^ct or work thus. — In the time of security 
and peace, presumption, fighting against the trutli, and 
obstinacy : in the time of soul-straits and trouble, despe- 
ration^ envy, apd impenitency. 

1. The reprobate, in the time of security, is con- 
. fident and presumptuous ; and seems sure that he in his 

works please God, and will be righteous as he is in him- 
self, as the Pharisees. 

2. If he be reproved, he grows proud, and resists the 
truth which makes against him ; and although he knows 
it is the truth, yet he will not cease from his presump- 
tion ; and thus, he fights against the known truth. 

3. He obstinately perseveres in this presumptioD 
and fighting ; and thus, dies in his sins hardened, seared^ 
and incorrigible. — On the other hand 

1. The reprobate when they begin to feel the wrath 
of God, they at once, like Cain and Judas, despair, and 
do not believe that their sins are pardoned ; but imagine, 
that their sin is greater than the grace of God. 

2. When they see, that they are rejected, they envy 
all men their salvation; and would that no one were 
saved, but that all should perish with themselves. 

3. They persevere in this envy and desperation, and 
will not suffer themselves to be converted. And as ob- 
stinacy is a certain final impenitency in the time of se- 
curity ; that is, in presumption and fighting against the 
truth ; so, final impenitency is a certain obstinacy in die 
time of soul-straits, that is, in desperation, envy, &c* 



Psalm xlv. 11. 

So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty. 

Tliis is a most sweet promise. For the Holy Spirit 

boweth that this monster, Monk, sticks fast in our heart, 

—that we want to be pure and without spot before God. 

Thus, under Poper)% all my temptation was this. I used 

say * that I would willingly go to the sacrament if I 

but worthy/ Thus we seek, naturallyj a purity in 

Ives ; and we examine our whole life and want to 

find a purity in ourselves, that we might have no need 

of grace, but might be pronounced righteous upon the 

groundj^ of our own merit. This inclination is rooted in 

our flesh ; and the Holy Spirit knows that we wish for 

a beauty in ourselves. And hence, when we woidd pray, 

•re think thus, * willingly would I pray, but f am not 

Worthy that God should hear me.* 

These cogitations come from that monstrous monk, 

J (of whom I have spoken before,) that dwells in nn^ ovm 

breasts, and intoxicates our conscience with a looking 

to our own worthiness, and a desiring not to pray before 

^e are better. But thus, it will come to pass that thou 

J%ilt never pray, if thou wilt wait until thou art worthy. 

jltor if it be required that we be first righteous, why do 

fci^e pray in the Lord's prayer, " Forgive us our tres- 

■pQSses?'' Rather, when thou feelest that thou art -a 

i^ inner and unfit to pray, thou shouldst then go the most 

tu prayer and to the sacrament. For in vvhat other 

^ray wouldst thou become righteous, but by the Word 

«iid Sacrament? Thou wilt certainly never become 

li^teous by thyself and thine own works. Thus, there 

is in us all this^ pestilent reasoning of our own monk» 

that we am always looking for our own purity. 

The Holy Spirit saith, therefore, I will give thee 
M^olesome counsel ; and if thou wilt hear me, thou shalt 
l>tJCome a virgin alt fair. For. if thou wouldst be beautiful 

in the sisht of God, so that all thy works should please 
him, and he should ^ay, ^Thy prayer pleaseth me; » all 
that thou sayest, doest, and think^t pleaseth me;* 
proceed thou thus; — "hear, see, and incline thine ear;" 
and thou shalt thus. become, all fair. When thou hast 
heard, hast seen, hast forgotten all thine own righteous- 
ness, all the law, all traditions, and all that roonkeiy, 
and h^st believed, then art thou fair ; not in thine own 
beauty, but in the beauty of the King who has adorned 
thee with his Word ; because, he has brought unto thee 
thereby his righteousness, his holiness, trum, and forti- 
tude, and all me gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

:But here, first of all, our own reasoning deceives us; 
which the moi^ that is bom with us still retains ; and 
which sticks close .to our flesh and conscience. And 
next, the efficacy of the Word ; for, because it is preached 
in common, and seems to have no conspicuous appear- 
ance, therefore, we do not think that we are sufficiently 
adorned when we have the Word only, when we are 
baptized, have partaken of die Lord's Supper, and are 
called by the Gospel. This adorning we do not think to 
be die highest ornament, as to appearance, because it 18 
,vile, and as it appears, common to all. For, say the 
Anabapdsts, what adorning is it to be wetted with 
.;water ? — It is thus that fleshly eyes judge ! But, if thoa 
look at baptism with spiritual eyes, thou wilt see, that 
baptism clothes thee with the adorning of Christ. And 
what better and more precious adorning wouldst thoa 
.\vish for, than that with which Christ is adorned himself, 
and adorns his disciples? 

Thus, the Holy Spirit declares, that we are to be 
made beautiful by a beauty not our own. When (saith 
he) diou hast heard, hast believed, and hast forgotten 
. thine own righteousness, so that thou desirest to know 
nothing wherein to trust but the adorning of the bride- 
groom Christ, then shalt thou be truly beautiful, and 
** So shall the King greaUy desire thy beauty." Biit 
wliat do we ? DirecUy the contrary ! We go back to- 
our father's house, which he commands us to forget 
,Ah I (say M(e) I am a sinner. 1 want to become worthy 

ifld pnie before I go to this bridegroom. And what js 
this, but goine back to our father's house, Hishinf; to 
bring with us tnat righteousness which lie commands us 
to let gp, and sending for that monk ? But thou oughtest 

to say thus. X know nothing about that worthiness : I 

care not whether I am worthy or unworthy: those 
things are all old and gone by. If I be outwardly un- 
worthy as to the second table, be it so: that is my 
filthiness. Yet, internally, I am beautiful by an adorn- 
ing not my own. By that I am most holy, and am 
b^utifuUy adorned; because, the King lovetli thai 
beauty ; seeing that, I hear the Word, forget my monk, 
and believe in Christ my King — that I am redeemed by 
lus blood, and justified by his merit. 

Where there is this faith, whatever I do afterward 

pleases hkn: and he delights in my beauty which he 

himself has put upon me. Therefore, I am not to doubt 

at all that I am all fair, and that all things which I do 

greatly please God for Christs sake, whom I apprehend 

by faith as my Redeemer. So that, when I o;)en my 

mouth to teach, or to pray, I am to l>elieve that all the 

angels smile and rejoice ; and he who hear< mc is to 

know, that he offers a sacritice of the sweetest savour 

onto God. This is the experience to which wc mujst 

arrive. This is to forget our father's house and |>eo|)le;-^ 

to be persuaded of the present righteousness of faith, in 

opposition to the old righteousness of works ; nnd then 

it will come to pass, that we shall be most acceptable 

onto God. 

But the Holy Spirit uses the most exalted language 
''So shall the King greatly desire thy l>eauty:'* that 
is, thou wilt by this faith prevail upon him to do wtiat- 
ever thou desirest : so that, as one urged by the pow^r 
of love, we will sponteneously follow thee, abide with 
thee, and take up his abode with thee. Tor wherever 
God has given his Word, there he doe.> not leave his 
work ^vhich he has begun in thee ; but he brings u\X)ti 
thee tirst the temptations of the world, the devil, and 
the flesh ; that by them he naay work upon thee. These 
axe his embraces whereby lie embraceth his spouAe 

• r 

through itnpatiency of love, because, if we were with- 
out temptations, we should not seek him ; we should not 
learn ^^ to hear, see, and incline our ear/' He therefore 
drives us, that we may the more earnestly cleave to the 
Word, and believe in him ; and this he does, from his 
great love of us. But these embraces are so sweet to 
our flesh, that they often press tears frona us ! Yet they 
do us good. 

These consolations, therefore, are exceedingly great 
if we could, not being afraid of their ma^itude^ em- 
brace them. — That our King Christ not only takes 
pleasure in the Word and in faith ; but that, with a love 
like that of a bridegroom toward his bride, he so hangs 
over us and is drawn towards us, that he spontaneously 
follows us. Such influence have we over him if we do 
but hear the Word,, believe, and forget our own righteous- 
ness. But it is a difficult matter ! May God only give 
us grace to enter into these things in doctrine, ana in 
the ministry of the Word, and the symbols ; and, in a 
degree, in our experience also ; and as we- have begunj 
may we learn to forget this monk, that he may at least 
not reign in us as he does in the Sacramentarians, the 
Anabaptists, and the Papists; whom this monk h^ m 
devoured altogether, that they are nothing but shaven 
monks. From which pestilence, may God in mercy save 
us. Amen! 

The sum of the whole therefore is this. — ^That oar 
beauty does not consist in our own virtues, nor even in 
the gifts which we have received from God, by which 
we put forth virtues and do all those things which per- 
tain unto the life of the law. But in this : — our appre- 
hending Christ and believing in him. Then it is that wc 
are truly beautiful : and it is this beautv alone that Christ 
looks upon, and upon no other. Tnerefofe, to teadi 
that we should desire to become beautiful by religions 
of our own choosing, and by our own righteousness, 
amounts to nothing. Among men, indeed, and in the 
courts of great men, such things are beautiful ; but in 
the courts of God, we must be arrayed in another 
beauty ! There, the one and only beauty is, believing in 


tbe Lord Jesus Christ! He it is that blots out all our 
blemishes and wrinkles, and makes us acceptable unto 
[ G od. Tins faith is a thing omnipotent, a beauty the 
Mkst fair; besides which, there is no beauty. For out 
^^^ and wittiout Christ, we are damned and lost, to* 
^Kher with all that we have and all that we are ! 


Isaiah Ix. 21. 

Thy people shall be all righteous. 

This is a glorious text,— that all who are in the 
Church, that is, who believe in Christ crucified, are 
"righteous," But we must define what this righteous- 
868i is ; for if you look at the life and walk of Christians, 
fm will find many things which will oftend yoo. They 
oftieii sin, they often err, they often, through infirmity, 
m oi?ercoroe by trifling things ; all which seems to 
make against rignteousness. 

Righteousness then before God, is not the doing or 
flnfferiiig this or that, but the being illuminated by the 
Holy Ghost, and the knowing and confessing that Jesus 
Christ is our Saviour, who by his death, has redeemed 
is from death and sin. This righteousness is held forth 
m the VVord, and is received by faith alone: which faith 
doses vrith the Word, and the man believes that he, by 
ibe death and merits of Christ, is righteous. 

But this faith is no light thing. For it is impossible 
that the Gospel can be believed, without a divine power. 
Aod even those who have received the Holy Spirit, 
Cftimot hold fast this faith without the greatest conflicts. 
Aod the cause tliereof is, that this righteousness is a 
thing invisible, wliich we are not to feel, but only to 
believe. But, because our flesh is corrupt and often 
fidls into sins, our minds cannot, without a great deal 
of trying exercise, raise themselves up to believe, con- 
trary to our present sense of sin, that we are righteous, 
not by our own righteousness, (for that under all these 
sins iuekI infirmities is brou^t to nothing,) but by the 



ri^teousness of Christ; who therefore was made 
righteousness unto us, and sacrificed for our sins upoQ 
tijfi cross, because it was impossible unto us to fulfil 
the law. 

.The mind must, therefore, be exercised to know, that 
its righteousness is out of itself, and treasured up in 
Christ. Otherwise, how could it stand in the judgment 
of God, seeing that we sin continually? If therefore 
thou hast sinned, and thy conscience bites thee, here 
thou oughtest to have firm faith, and to overcome sin 
through Christ and say, — Although I have sinned, yet 
I am righteous ; because, I have for my light the Lord 
himself; because, I have Christ in whom there is no 
guilt of sin. 

' And that the righteousness of Christ is thine, thou 
hast the most weighty testimonies. First, the word of 
God itself; which saith that Christ died for thee. Again, 
thou hast baptisSt; for we are all baptized into his 
death, which he underwent for us. Thou hast also the 
sacrament of the altar ; in which, by clear words and by 
an external sign, he confirms that his body was delivered 
for thee, and that his blood was shed for thee. 

This therefore is our righteousness whereby we are 
righteous before God : it is without us afar ofi*, placed 
ftur beyond all our own works and imaginations. Where- 
fore, we are deceived, if we make ourselves to be either 
righteous or unrighteous from our own works : for we 
ought to feel and confess, that we are righteous by a con- 
fidence in the death of Christ. They who do not this, 
do an injury to Christ, and make their sins to be greater 
than the death and innocent passion of Christ More- 
over, they deny the word of God and the sacrament, the 
signs of grace. 

This, nevertheless, is true; that, with respect to 
thyself and thy " old man," thou sayest rightly that 
thou art a sinner : (for as much of flesh and blood as 
there is remaining in thee, so much sin hast thou remiuo- 
ing :) but because thou art baptized and illuminated bj[ 
the Spirit, with respect to this '' new man/' thou art 
truly 'righteous. But for as much as bapdsm, the sacra- 


le altar, the word of Cod, ni^ Christ himself, 
that are placed without thee ; so also, thy 

jss is placed without thee : therefore, the pri- 
mte sms of our flesh cannot destroy it. For the prophet 
aith that our sun is eternal : therefore, our righteous- 
acss is eternal, and not to be overcome by temporal 
m$. It is not pride for a man to say thai he is righte- 
<Ȥ: nay, to say the contrary, and to believe in thine 
k«ut that thou art not righteous^ is to deny Christ and 
10 blaj^pheme the name of Christ, who gave liimself to 
be i>ur ** w^isdom, righteousness, sanctitication, and re- 
demption,'* 1 Con i. 




I Peter ii. 2* 

Ai new-born babes desire the sincere milk of ihe^ 



Here, the simile vvhich he adduces, is this.— Ye are 

newly bom by the word of God ; wherefore, be ye like 

ttolo new-born babes : that is, they desire nothing but 

otlk* As therefore they desire the breasts, and milk ; so 

ootliht ye to desire the word, and be carried out in 

iigs after it with all the heart; and to believe, that 

c dainties which it contains, are there treasured up 

ou, that ye may suck out milk, sincere, and pure 

irom all deceit. 

These are figurative words. For he does not speak 
of corporal milk ; even as he does not speak of a corpo- 
ral sacking, or a corpora! birth. But he is speaking here 
of another milk which is "sincere,'' that is, spiritual; 
wbidi is imbibed by the soul and sucked out by the 
beiut. This milk should be pure from deceit, for cor- 
mpled wares are often sold. It is, however, a matter of 
great moment, and utterly necessary, that to new-bora 
and infant Christians, sincere and uncorrupt milk should 



be given. This milk is nothing else than the Gospd it* 
selC which is also the very s^ of which we are con- 
ceived and bom, as we have observed before : and the 
same is also the food by which we are fed after we 
have grown up : it is also the armour with which we are 
furnished and equipped. And what farther shall I say ? 
This same Gospel is every thing to us. And that which, 
being mingled, corrupts this sincerity, is the doctrine of 
men. Wherefore it is, that the Holy Spirit here gives an 
admonition, that every one of those who are bom again 
in Christ, should look well to the kind of milk which he 
sucks, and should himself leam to judge of every kind 
of doctrine. 

The breasts also which give forth this milk, and 
which the infants suck, are those who teach in the 
church of Christ. Hence, the bridegroom says to the 
bride in Cant, iv., " Thy two breasts are like two young 
roes that are twins." Between these, ought to hang the 
bundle of myrrh ; as the bride saith Cant. i. "A bundle 
of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me, he shall lie all 
night betwixt my breasts." Which signifies, that (^hrist 
only, is always to be preached. This spouse ought al- 
ways to be betwixt the breasts. Otherwise, if Christ be 
not purely preached, the milk is corrupted and all things 
are preposterous and pernicious. 

And this preaching is pure, where it is preached as 
the chief thing of all, that Christ gave himself to death 
for us, and by it plucked and delivered us from sin, 
death, and hell: this is fruitful preaching, and, as it 
were, sweet milk. But by-and-by also, the cross must 
be preached : namely, that we must suffer as he also 
suffered : this, is strong drink, and pure wine. Therefore, 
to the new-bora babes in Christ, softer food musJL fifst 
be given ; that is, milk must be admininistered. This^ 
cannot be done more conveniently than by preaching, 
unto them first, and before all things, Christ; who is. by 
no means harsh, and nothing but sweet and rich grace ; ; 
wherein, there is nothing that can hurt, nothing thftt^ 
can grieve. And this is that true milk, sincere, and pure . 
from deceit 


And again, by ** milk " here, Peter has reference to 

the scriptures, which he quotes most abundantly. The 

Lord commanded, Exod. xxiii. and Deut. xiv. '' Thou 

sikalt not dress a kid, while it is suckled by its mother." 

I pray you for what cause did God command this to be 

vritten ? Of what consequence was it if the kid were 

Idlied while it suckled ? He doubtlessly commanded it, 

that it mi^ht signify that which Peter here teaches. Nor 

is it any thing else than if he had said, Take heed that 

thou preach tender things, and by de^ees, to new-bom 

and weak Christians. Let them be well ted, and )iui\\ fat 

by the knowledge of Christ. Do not overload them 

with strong doctrine : for, by reason of their tender age, 

they are not able to bear it. But by-and-by, when they 

are grown up and have gained some strength, then kill 

them and sacritice them on the cross. 

To the same purpose is that caution which wc read 
Deut. xxiv. — That the new married husl>and ouglit not 
to be forced to go to war in the first year, lest he should 
be slain : but ought to remain at home and de-light him- 
self in his new-married wife. Nor does this signify any 
thing else, but that we should for a time indulge those 
who are yet babes in the faith of Christ, and treat them 
tenderly, until they be grown stronger: whom, liy-and- 
by, when they are grown up, the Lord will hriiig to the 
cross, and take care that they shall be slain like other 
Christians : and then, the kid shall be killed. 

That ye may grow thereby : if so be ye have tasted 
that the Zard is gracious. 

It is by no means enough to have hcani the Gospel 
once : it must be inculcated continually, that i)y it we 
may grow. According to every one*s strength of faith, so 
he oa^t to be looked after, and so he ought to l>e fed. 
Bot as for those who have not yet heard the (rospel, do 
not imagine that these things are s|)oken to them : they 
know not what this milk, or this wine is : and therefore, 
ihe apostle adds, " If so be ye have tasted that the Lord 
is gracious/' As thou|^ he had said, He who has not 
fitted diis, such an one cannot understand this thing in 


his heart, nor know that its taste is sweet. But those 
who have tasted it, such are always dwelling upon 
this food, even the word ; they know what the taste 
of it is, and they are acquainted with its marvellous 

This tastingy is, when I believe in my heart that 
Christ gave himself for me, and put himself in my 
stead : and that now, all my sins and all my destruction 
are his, and his life mine. When that is taken up and 
entered into by the heart, its taste is wonderfully sweet : 
for how can it be that I should not be anointed with joy 
and pleasure at this, if I rejoice so much when any friend 
gives me only a hundred pounds ? But he who does not 
take up this in his heart, he cannot be affected with any 
joy concerning it. Moreover, they taste the most of these 
things, who are exercised with the burthen of death, or 
are tormented with an unhealed conscience : to them, as 
the proverb saitli, * hunger is the best sauce : ' that 
hunger, renders this food wonderfully savory. For the 
heart and conscience, when they have begun to feel their 
plagues, can hear of nothing so sweet as the Gospel : 
they are always longing for this; they can smell the 
savor of it afar off: and they can never be satisfied with 
it. Thus Mary sings, " He fiUeth the hungry with good 
things." Whereas those obstinate men, who live upon - 
their own holiness, and lean upon their own works, and 
feel nothing of their sins, and plagues, taste nothing bf 
these things. So when a hungry man sits down to the 
table, all the dishes have to him a savoury taste ; but he 
who has already eaten to the full, has no relish for their 
savouriness at all ; nay, even the most delicious meats are 
to him disgustful. Therefore, the apostle saith, " If so 
be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." As though 
he had said, If ye have not yet tasted this, my preaching « 
these things to you is all in vain. 




Hope with all conjidence in the grace which* h 
ffeted unto you hy the revelation of Jesus Christ; as* 
Mient children. 

The nature of Christian taith, is, to trust to the word- 
of GoU with alt reh'ance, to commit itself uolo the word 
iitli all safety, and to undertake whatever is required* 
with ail confidence. And therefore Peter saith, then are 
the loins of your mind girded up, then is your faith 
sound and sincere, when you do what you do with this 
fiiil reliance upon the word of God ; not regarding what 
will be endangered that belongs to you, whether your 
property, your fame, your body, or even your life. And 
tberefore, be has in these w ords beautifully described sin- 
cere, and truly unfeigned faith. For faith must not be 
oidoJent and sleepy, which would rather be a dream than 
fitfth, but it must be li\^ly and efficacious : so that the 
warn may expose himself to ail things wit!i all conti- 
deoee, resting wholly on the word, not in the least re- 
prding what kind of a portion God shall allot to hinii 
taf undergofng with the same mind both adversity and 
pit>spertty. ITius, if I am to die, it behoves me to com^ 
mit myseWwith all confidence unto Christ, to offer my 
oeck tVeely, relying upon the word which cannot deceivd 
ne, and boldly to triumph over the powers of my ad- 
verwrfes. Moreover, it is necessary that faith go right 
on, and suffer not itself to be hindered or terrified by 
m thing, but cast away all opposition which it may 
tmer hear, see, or feeL In a w ord, Peter requires such 
t&tth as standeth not in imagination, nor in word, but 
ia power. 

Moreover, Peter saith, " Hope in the grace which 
is offered unto you : '' that is, ye did not merit this great 
grace, but it is offered unto you wholly free. For tht 
Gafpti;whicb proclaims this grace unto tij, we oevek 


fouQcl out or. thought of ourselves, but the Holy Spirit 
revealed it unto the world from heaven. And what fs 
there offered unto us ? ' Even those things of which we 
have spoken already : — that he who believes in Christ, 
and cleaves to his word, partakes, together with hin), of 
all his benefits: he is in truth the Lord over sin, death, 
the devil, and hell, and sure of eternal life ! This im- ^ 
mense treasure is, as the German proverb saith, brought.t 
to our mouths and put into our bosoms, without any 
working or merit of oufs : nay, when we never expected, 
never knew, and never thought of any such thing, . 
Wherefore, the apostle exhorts us to expect this grace 
with all assurance, because, God who offers it unto us, 
most certainly cannot lie. 

By the revelation of Jems Christ. 

God offers his grace to no one but by Christ; 
wherefore, no mortal man can presume to come into his 
presence without this Mediator : this also we have 
shewn before. ' For he will hear no one but him who, 
brings with him as an advocate Christ his well-beloved 
Son ; he will only look on him ; and, for his sake,: 
those who cleave to him. Wherefore, he requires thai 
we acknowledge his Son, as him through whose blood 
we are received into his favour, and now dare to appear; • 
befpre him. Because it was for this that Christ the. - 
Lord came into the world, and, having assumed flesb.. 
and blood, united himself unto us, — that he might ob* 
tain for us grace to appear before his Father. It was by.* 
this faith that all the prophets and patriarchs were pre« . 
served, and attained unto salvation. For they must aU 
have had faith in that promise which was made unfeD ; 
Abraham, '* In thy seed shall all the nations of thei- 
earth be blessed." Wherefore, the faith of the Jews, tlie < 
Turks, and all those who trust in their own works, and ^ 
hope by them to obtain heaven, is a nothing at all. And 
therefore Peter saith, that grace is offered unto us ; but, 
by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Or, to set it forth 
.ipnore plainly, by Jesus Christ being revealed unto us. 
By the Gospel, it is declared untQ us what Christ is, that. 


we might know him ; namely, that he is our Saviour 
who takes away our sins; who delivers us from all 
evils ; who reconciles us to his Father ; and who makes 
OS righteous and saved without any of our own works. 
He who does not know Christ thus, is manifestly de- 
ceived. For even if thou know that he is the Son of 
God who died and rose again, and now sitteth at the 
right hand of God, yet thou hast not known Christ 
aright, nor will this knowledge profit thee any thing: 
bat it is necessary that thou know and believe, that he 
did all these things for thy salvation. Wherefore, all that 
diey have hitherto preached and taught in the schools, 
is vain ; because, they were destitute of this knowledge 
of Christ, and advanced no farther than discussing how 
much pain the Lord Christ's passion must have cost him 
before he could, as he now does, sit down at rest in 
heavea, and rejoice in himself: therefore their hearts 
remain utterly barren, and lively faith cannot grow 
diereio. Whereas, Christ ought not to l)e preached as 
living and reigning for himself, but as being our$. 
Otherwise, what need was there for him to come down 
upoD earth and shed his blood ? But he was sent into 
ifae world that by him the world might be saved ; which 
he himself saith, John chap. iii. was necessary, that he 
■i^t accomplish that work which his Father sent him 
into the world to do. And that mission and coming is 
not to be understood of the divine nature only, but ra- 
ther of the human nature, and of the office which 
Christ bore. For as soon as he was baptized he com* 
menced his office, and began to do that for which he 
was sent, and for which he came into the world : — to 
pieach the truth, and to declare unto men, that all who 
shoald believe in him should be saved. For this pur- 
pose, he shewed himself openly, studiously made himself 
1, and offisred unto us grace in and through himself. 

As obedient children. 

That is, walk as becometh obedient children. Obe^ 

in the scriptures means /jiVA. But the Pope with 

hb schoelSi and herds of -monks have, by perverting this 


word, >varped aiid twisted, according to their own. litf 
and y^nitfes, every thing that is read in the scriptuilESS 
cpncerning obedience. So^ as soon as they saw that ^o^9t 
passage, 1 Kings xv., " To obey is better than saciribce," 
and found tl^t obedience was so highly extotied.JD the 
scriptures, they laid hold of it in order to draw men into 
this ^rror; — to think, that to do all that they should im' 
pose upon them, w^s the obedience which is son^cb 
commended in the scriptures. And thus, they .would 
draw us froiii the wqrd of Gpd tp their own lies.cmd 
djabplical ob^iepces ! Whereas, he is the obedient child 
of Gfody who he,ars, and by faith embraces, the Go^i^l 
and word of God ! Therefore, whatever is not the word, 
pay no regard to it, but rather tread it under thy feet ! 

Not~ fashioning yourselves according to the former 
hists in your ignoi^ance : but as he that hath called you 
is holy J so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, jfee* 
cause it is written^ Be ye holy, for I am holy. 

Here St. Peter adduces a passage from the 0|(l 
Testament, Levit. xix., where the Lord saith, " Be ye 
holy, for I am holy :'' that is, because I am the Loro 
your God, and ye are my people, it is right that yp 
should be as I am. For he that righdy acts the part <|f 
a lord, studies to make his p^ple like himself; that thq^ 
may bfi obedient in all things, and ready to (^pnfomi 
themselves to his will. Hence it is, that, s^s the Lord o^r 
God is holy, so also we his people ^re holy : that im 
when we w^k in faith. For the scripture by no mean^ 
has to do with the saints that ^re dead, but e^ways 
speaks of those saints which are c^live, and are still upon 
the earth : ,^ven as the prophet David, Ps. Uxxvi. bpfists 
that he is holy : saying, " Preserve thou my soul, O 
Lord, for I am holy." 

But our wise ones pervert this passage also ; sayiqg^ 
that the prophet had some peculiar revelation, and there^ 
fore, called himself " holy." Wherein they plainly con- 
fess, that they are both destitute of faith, and i^now 
nothing of the revelation of Christ ; if it were not -so, H^fiy. 
would at once understand what it is. For whoever 19 n^ 

495 ' 

Chjlstian, knows that this revelation of Christ is in his 
(wn experience: and he who has not tliis experience is 
no Christian. For he that is a Christian, enters into 
comiEiunion with Christ and all his beoeiits. And hence, 
•s Christ is holy, so he must be holy ; or el.^e, he must 
deny that Christ is holy< For if thou art baptized, thou 
hast put DO the garment of holiness— which is, Christ : 
m Paul testifies. 

This term " holy/' [saint,] signifies that which is 
made the peculiar property of God, and which belongs 
to hini alone : which we commonly term* comecrated. 
Therefore, Peter here says, Ye have consecrated your- 
selves unto God, therefore, take heed that ye softer not 
yourselves to be led away again into the lusts of the 
world ; but yield yourselves unto God, that he may 
rdgn, live, and work in you ; then shall ye be holy, even 
as be is holy ! 

Thus, hitherto, the Apostle has described and taught 

that grace which is oftered unto us by the Gospel, and 

the preaching of Christ. And now^ what does he teach 

us in consequence of this grace;— that we firmly per- 

WBwete in a pure and sincere mind of faith; assured, that 

oo work whavever that we can either do or think, can 

be of any avail unto our salvation. Hut ^^hen these 

tfaings are preached, immediately this reasoning begins, 

md this conclusion is drawn > — Well ! if this be the 

case, then there is no need for me to do any good at all ! 

Thus^ those thick-headed ones run away into such an 

apioion ; (or shall I rather call it madness?) and, of the 

Qnstian life, make a state of carnal licentiousness; 

iaiagimng, that they may do just what they list. These 

the Apostle Peter here opposes, and anticipates their 

{bolish reasoning ; teaching, that the Christian liberty 

md freedom from all works is to be used with respect 

to God only ; for with respect to, and before him, I am 

to faith only, without any works ; tliat 1 may as- 

imbe unto him the honour due unto his name, and may 

icknowledge him to be my God who is just, tnie, and 

merciful ! It is diis faith that sets us free from sin and 

uU evils. But when I have rendered these things unto 

God, then^ whatever portion of life I live afterwards, I 




live to my neighbour, thai I may serve him and do ^im 
good. The chiefest of all works that proceed from fakh^ 
is, that I confess Christ with my mouth« and bear a 
testimony for him with my blood ; being ready to lay 
down my life for him, when it should be required of me. 
But still, God has no need even of this work : where- 
fore, we are to do this, only, that our faith may be 
proved and manifested, and may win others unto the 
faith. And moreover, other works follow ; all of which 
must be directed to this end, — that by them I may serve 
my neighbour; all which works, nevertheless, God 
must work in us. Therefore nothing is our own — we' 
can arrogate nothing unto ourselves. 




Galatians iv. 6. 

Ami because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the 
Spirit of his Son into your hearts. 

The Holy Ghost is sent two manner of ways. In 
tlie primitive church, he was sent in a manifest and 
visible appearance. So he came upon Christ at Jordan 
in the likeness of a dove; (Matt. iii. 16,) and in the 
likeness of fire upon the apostles and other believers, 
(Acts ii. 3.) And this was the first sending of the Holy 
Ghost; which was necessary in the primitive church, 
for it was expedient that it should be established by 
many miracles because of the unbelievers ; as Paul vrit- 
nesseth-:— " Strange tongues, (saith he,) be for a sign and 
a token; not to them that believe; but to them^ that 
belieVe not," (1 Cor. xix. 22.) But after that the church 
was gathered together and confirmed with those miracles, 
it w^ not necessary that this visible sending of the 
Holy Ghost should continue any longer. 

Secondly, the Holy Ghost is sent by the word into 
the hearts of the believers ; as here it is said, *^ God 
sent the Spirit of his Son,'' &c. This sending is without 
any visible appearance; to wit, when by the hearing!^ 


the external word, we receive an ioward fervency and 
l^bt, whereby we are changed and become new creatures ; 
whereby also, we receive a new judgment, a new feelingi 
and a new moving. ' This change, and this new judg- 
ment, is no work of reason or of the power of man, bat 
is the gift and operation of the Holy Ghost, which 
com^b with the word preached, which puriiieth our 
hearts by faith, and bring^th forth in us spiritual motions. 
Therefore, there is a great difference betwixt us and 
those, ^'hich, with force and subtilty, persecute the doc- 
trine of the Gopel. For we, by the grace of God, can 
certainly judge by the word of the will of God towards 
as, also of all laws and doctrines, and of our own life 
and of the life of others. Contrariwise, the Papists 
and Sectaries cannot certainly judge of any thing. For 
dicy corrupt, they persecute, and blaspheme the Word. 
Now, without the Word, a man can give no certain 
judgment of any thing. 

And although it appear not before the world that 
we be renewed in spirit, and have the Holy (ihost, yet 
notwithstanding, our judgment, our speech, and our 
confession, do declare sufficiently, that the Holy (ihost 
with his gifts is in us. For before, we could judge rightly 
of nothing : we spake not as now we do ; we confessed 
not that all our works were sin and damnable : that 
Christ was our only merit both before grace and after, 
as now we do in the true knowledge and light of the 
gospel. Wherefore, let this trouble us nothing at all that 
the world (whose works we testify to l>e evil) judgeth us 
to be most |>emicious heretics and seditious |>€rson8, 
destroyers of religion and troublers of the common peace, 
possessed of the devil speaking in and governing all our 
actions. Against this perverse and ^ icked judgment of 
the world, let this testimony of our conscience be suffi- 
cient ; whereby we assuredly know, that it is the gift of 
God that we do not only believe in Jesus Christ, but 
that we also preach and confess him tiefore the world. 
As we believe with our heart, so do we speak with our 
aioath, according to that saying of the Psalmist, '' I 
bdieved, and therefore have I sfioken/* (Psalm cxvi« 10») 


Moreover, we exercise ourselves in the fear of God,' 
and avoid sin as much as we may. If we sin, we sin 
not of purpose but of ignorance, and we are sorry for it. 
We may slip, for the devil lieth In wait for us both day 
and night. Also, the remnants of sin cleave yet fast in 
our flesh. Tlierefore, as touching the flesh, we are sin- 
ners, yea, after that we have received the Holy Grfaost. 
And there is no great diflference betwixt a Christian and 
a civil honest man. For the works of a Christian, in 
outwaitl shew, are but base and simple. He doth his 
duty according to his vocation, he guideth his family, he 
tilleth the ground, he giveth counsel, he aideth and 
succoureth his neighbour. These works the carnal man 
doth not much esteem, but thinketh them to be common 
to all men, and such as the heathen may also do. For 
the world understandeth not the things which are of the 
Spirit of God, and therefore, it judgeth perversely irf 
the works of the godly. But the monstrous superstition 
of the hypocrites and their will works, they have in great 
admiration. They count them holy works,^ and spare no 
charges in maintaining the same. Contrariwise, the 
works of the faithful, (which although in outward ap- 
pearance they seem to be but vile and nothing worth, 
yet, are they good works indeed, and accepted of God, 
because, they are done in faith with a cheerful heart, 
and with obedience and thankfulness towards God,) 
these works, I say, they do not only, not acknowledge 
to be good works, but also they despise as most wicked 
and abominable. The world, therefore, believeth nothing 
less than that we have the Holy Ghost. Notwithstand- 
ing, in the time of tribulation, or of the cross and of the 
confession of our faith, (which is the proper and prin* 
cipal work of those that believe) when we must either 
forsake wife, children, goods, and life, or else deny 
Christ, then it appeareth that we make confession of 
our faith, and that we confess Christ and his wor^jl by 
the power of the Holy Ghost. 

We ought not, therefore, to doubt whether the Holy 
Ghost dwelleth in ns or not, but to be assuredly per- 
suaded that we " are the temple of the Holy Ghoet,*' 


91; Paul saith (1 Cor. iii. 16.) For if any maa feel in 
linn^ir a love towards the Word of CJod, and willingly 
bearetii, writeth, and thinketh of Christ ; let that man 
know, thai this is not the work of man's will or reason, 
bal the gitt of the Holy Ghost ; for it is impossible that 
these things should be done without the Holy Ghost* 
Cootrariwisej where hatred and contempt of tJie Word 
S9, there the devil the god of this world reigoeth, 
^ bliiiding meo*$ hearts, and holding them captive that 
the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should not 
sliiiie upon them/' (1 Cor, iv, 4.) Which thing we see 
9d. this day in most part of the common jjeople, which 
\/^ve no love to the Word, but contemn it as though it 
pertained nothing at all unto them. But whosoever do 
ieel any love or desire to the Word, let them acknow- 
leds^e u ith thankfulness, that this aflection is poured into 
tbeni by the Holy GhosL For we bring not this aftec- 
tioo and desire with us, neither can we be taught by any 

■5 how we may obtain it, but this cliange is plainly 
^iinply the work of the right hand of ttie Most High, 
^fi^re, when we willingly and gladly hear the word 
piiMcbed concerning Christ the Son of God, who for 
tts mus made man and became subject to the law , to 
deliver us from the malediction of tlie law, hell, death, 
ind damnation, then let us assure ourselves that God^ 
by and with this preaching, senduth the Holy (ihost 
into our hearts. Wherefore, it is very expedient for the 
gpdly to know tliat they have the Holy Ghost. 

Tills I say to confute th it pernicious doctrine of 
|)ie Papists, which taught, that no man certainly knows, 
(u •■ U his life be never so upright and lilameless,) 
ni;^.,;L; be be in the favour of God or no* And this 
lealeoce commonly received, was a special principle and 
ifticle of faith in the w hole papacy ; whereivy, they 
utteriy defaced the doctwne of faith, tormented men s 
consciecices, banished Christ quite out of the church, 
darkened and denied all the bcnetits of the Holy Ghost* 
aboltshed the whole worship of God, and set up idolatry, 
comempt of God, and blasphemy against God, in men's 

Augustine 8aith very well and godly, ^ every nuoi 
seeth most certainly his own faith, if he have faith/ This 
do they deny. God forbid (say they) that I should 
assure myself that I am under grace, that I am holy, 
and that I have the Holy Ghost ; yea, although I live 
godly and do all good works. Ye which are young, and 
are not infected with this pernicious opinion, (whereupon 
the whole kingdom of the Pope is grounded,) take heed 
and fly from it as from a most horrible plague. We that 
are old men have been trained up in this error even 
from our youth, and have been so nursed therein, that 
it hath taken deep root in our hearts. Therefore, it is to 
us no less labour to unlearn and forget the same, than 
to learn and lay hold upon true faith. But we must be 
assured and out of doubt, that we are under grace, that 
we please God for Christ's sake, and that we have the 
Holy Ghost. " For if any man have not the Spirit of 
Christ, the same is noae of his.'' (Rom. viii. 90 

Wherefore, whether thou be a minister of God'-e 
word, or a magistrate in the commonwealth, thou must 
assuredly think that thy office pleaseth God : but this 
thou canst never do, unless thou have the Holy GhosL 
But thou wilt say, I doubt not but that my office pleaseth 
God, because it is God's ordinance; but I doubt of 
mine own person, whether it please God or no. Here 
thou must resort to the Word of God ; which teacheth 
and assureth us, that not only the office of the person^ 
but also the person himself, pleaseth God. For the per- 
son is baptized, believeth in Christ, is purged in his blood 
from all his sins, and liveth in the communion and fel- 
lowship of his church. Moreover, he doth not only love 
the pure doctrine of the Word, but also, he is glad and 
greatly rejoiceth when he seeth it advanced, and the 
number of the faithful increased. Contrariwise, he de* 
testeth the Pope and all his s^taries, with their wicked 
doctrine ; according to that saying of the Psalm, " I 
hate them that imagine evil things, but thy law do I 
love," (Psalm cxix. 113.) 

}Ve ought therefore to be surely persuaded, that 
not only our office, but our person, pleaseth God : yea 


frfaslsoever it saith, dodi, or thinketh particularly, the 

same pieaaeth God : not for our own sake, but for Chri8t*8 

sake, who was made under the law for us. Now we are 

sore diat Christ pleaseth God, and that he is holy, &c. 

Forasmuch then as Christ pleaseth God, and we are in 

famiy we also please God and are holy. And althoudi sin 

do still remain in our flesh, and we also daily fall and 

offisnd, yet grace is more abundant and stronger than 

sm. The mercy and truth of God reigneth over us for 

ever. Wherefore, sin cannot terrify us and make ua 

doubtful of the grace of God which is in us. For Christ, 

that most mighty giant, hath quite abolished the law, 

eondeinned sin, and vanquished death and all evils. So 

long as he is at the right hand of God making interces- 

aoD for as, we cannot doubt of the grace and favour of 

God towards us. 

Moreover, God hath also sent the Spirit of his Son 
into our hearts, as Paul here saith. But Christ is most 
certain in his Spirit that he pleaseth God, &c. ; there- 
fore, we also, having the same Spirit of Christ, must be 
asBored that we are under grace for his sake, which ia 
nost assured. This I have said concerning the inward 
testimony, whereby a Christian man's heart ought to be 
fidly persuaded, that he is under grace and hatli the 
Holy Ghost. Now, the outward signs, (as before I have 
said,) are, gladly to hear of Christ, to preach and teach 
Christ, to render thanks unto him, to praise him, to 
confess him, yea, with the loss of goods and life ; more- 
over, to do our duty according to our vocation, as we 
are able to do it [I say,] in faith, joy, &c., not to de- 
iij^t in or to thrust ourselves into another man's voca- 
tioDv but to attend upon our own, to help our needy 
brother, to comfort the heavy hearted, &c. By these 
sigpis, as by certain effects and consequents, we are 
fiSy assured and confirmed, that we are in God s favour. 
The wicked also do imagine that they have the same 
signs, bat they have nothing less. Hereby we may 
fdunly perceive, that the Pope, with his doctrine, dom 
Bodniig else bat trouble and torment men*s consciences, 
aid BX'ieagik drive them into desperation. For he not 

only teacheth^ but he also commandeth men to doubt. 
Therefore, as the Psalm saith, " There is no truth 6t ' 
certainty in his mouth," (Psalm v. 90 And, in another 
place, "Under his tongue is iniqiilty and mischidf/* 
(Psalm X. 7.) 

Here we may see, what great infirmity is yet in' 
the faith of the godly. For if we could be fully per- 
suaded that we are under grace, that our sins are for- 
given, that we have the Spirit of Christ, that we are the* 
children of God ; then, doubtless, we shall be thankful' 
to God for this inestimable gift. But, because we feel 
contrary motions; that is to say, fear, doubtfulness/ 
anguish, and heaviness of heart, and such like, therefore,' 
we cannot assure ourselves hereof; yea, our conscience' 
judgeth it a great presumption and pride to challenge 
this glory. Wherefore, if we well understand this thing* 
rightly, and as we should do, we must put it in prac- 
tice; for without experience and practice, it can never' 
be learned. 

Wherefore, let every mah so practise with himself, 
that his conscience may be iiilly assured that he is 
under grace, and that his person and his works do 
please God. And if he feel in himself any waving 'of 
doubting, let him exercise his faith and wrestle against 
this doubting, and let him labour to attain more strengA 
and assurance of, faith : so that he may be able to say, I 
know that I am accepted, and that I have the Holy 
Ghost; not for mine own worthiness, my work, my 
merits but for Christ's sake ; who, of his inestimable 
love towards us, made himself thrall and subject to the 
law, and took away the sins of the world ; in him do I 
believe ! If I be a sinner and err, he is righteous and 
cannot err. Moreover, I gladly hear, read, sing, and 
write of him : and I desire nothing more, than that bis 
Gospel may be known to the whole world, and ihM 
many may be converted unto him. 

These things do pl^nly witness, that the Hdty 
Ghost is present *with us, and in us. For such things 'af6 
not wrought in the heart by man's strength, nor ^ttett 
by man'« industry or travel, but are obUaded -by v^bfii| 


■JoDe; who first maketh us righteous by the knowledge 
of hims^f in his holy gospel ; and afterwards he creat- 
ed! a new heart in us, bringeth forth good motions, and 
giveth unto us that assurance, whereby we are per* 
siiaded that we please the Father for his sake. Also, he 
giveth us a true judgment ; whereby, we prove and try 
those things which before we knew not, or else altoge* 
ther despised. It behoveth us, therefore, to wrestle 
against Uiis doubting, that we may daily overcome it 
more and more, and attain to a full persuasion and cer* 
tainty of God's favour towanls us ; rooting out of our 
hearts this cursed opinion, that a man ought to doubt of 
the grace and favour of God : which hath infected the 
whc£e world. 


Cryhigy Abba Father. 

Paul might have said, '^ God sent the Spirit of his 

Son into our hearts,"" callings Abba Father. He saith 

not 8O9 but crying ''Abba Father : " that he might shew 

and set forth the temptation of a Christian which yet is 

bat weak, and weakly believeth. In the eighth to the 

Romans he calleth this crying, '' an unspeakable groan- 

ii^*^ Likewise he saith, '' 'Ine Spirit helpeth our infir- 

miiies. For we know not how to pray as we ought, bat 

the Spirit maketh intercession for us with unspeakable 

groanings,'' &c. 

And this is a singular consolation, when he saith, 

*' that the spirit of Chjist is sent into our hearts, crying, 

Abba Father." And again, '* that he helpeth our infir* 

nutieSy making intercession for us with unspeakable 

groanings/' He that could assuredly believe this, shoold 

never be overcome with any affliction, were it never so 

great. But there are many things that hinder this faith 

ia us. First, our heart is bom in sin. Moreover, this 

evil is naturally grafted in us, that we doubt ef the 

gCMid-will of God towards us, and cannot assure our- 

idvesy that we please God, £c. Besides all this, the 

devil, oor adversely, rangsth about with terrible roarings, 

S04 . 

and saltb, Thou art a sinner, therefore, God is angry' 
with thee, and will destroy thee for ever. Against these 
horrible and intolerable roarings, we have nothing 
whereupon to hold and stay ourselves, but only the 
word which setteth Christ before us as a conqueror over ' 
sin, and death, and over all evils. But to cleave fast to 
the Word in this temptation and these terrors of con- 
science, herein standeth all the difficulty! For then Christ 
appeareth to no sense! We see him not: the heart 
feeleth not his presence or succour in temptation : but 
rather, it seemeth that he is angry with us, and forsakes 
us. Moreover, when a man is tempted and afflicted, he 
feeleth the fiery darts of the devil, the terrors of death, 
and the anger and judgment of God. All these things 
cry out horribly against us, so that we see nothing else 
but desperation and eternal death. But yet in the midst 
of these terrors of the law, thunderings of sin, assaults of 
death, and roarings of the devil, the Holy Ghost (saith 
Paul) crieth in our hearts " Abba Father 1 " And this 
crying surmounteth the horrible cries of the law, sin, 
death, and the devil, &c. It pierceth the clouds and the 
heavens, and ascendeth into the ears of God. 

Paul signifieth, therefore, by these words, that there 
is yet infirmity in the godly ; as he doth also in the sixth 
chapter to the Romans, when he saith, "the Spirit 
helpeth our infirmities." Forasmuch, therefore, as the 
sense and feeling of the contrary is strong in us ; that is 
to say, for as much as we feel more the displeasure of 
God than his good-will and favour towards us ; there- 
fore, the Holy Ghost is sent into our hearts; which 
doth not only sigh and request for us, but mightily 
crieth, ** Abba Father ; " and prayeth for us, according 
to the will of God, with tears and unspeaicable groan- 
in^s. And how is this done ? When we are in terrors 
and in the conflict of conscience, we take hold of Christ, 
and believe that he is our Saviour ; but then do the law 
and sin terrify and torment us most of all. Moreover, 
the devil assaileth us with all his engines and fiery 
darts, and goeth about with all his power to take away 
Christ and all consolations from us. Here we feel oor-' 

almost gone and at the point of desperation ; ?or 
tbeo, v%e are tliat *' bruised reed " aiiil *' smoking riax " 
which Isaiah speaketh of, diap* xlii. 3. Notwithstanding, 
in the mean season, the Holy Ghost helpeth oor inlirniities, 
and maketh intercession tor us with unspeakable groan- 
logs (Rom. viii. 28 ;) and certirteth our spirits, that we 
are tlie children of God. Thus is the mind raised up in 
lerrors, it looketh unto his Saviour and hij>h bisliop, 
Jesus Christ, it overconieth the infimiity of the flesh, it 
moceivetli comfort again, and sjiith, *' Abba Father/* 
This groaning which then we scantily feel, Paul calleth 
a ** crying/' and *' unspeakable groaning/' which filleth 
both heaven and earth. Moreover, he calleth it the 
Ciytng and groaning of the '' Spirit ; ' because the Holy 
Ghost stirreth up the same in our hearts, when we are 
wenk and opj)ressed with temptation and terror. 

Although then the law, sin, and the devil, cry out 
against us never so much w ith great and terrible roar- 
uigs, which seem to till heaven and earth, and far to ex- 
ceod this groaning of our heart, yet can they not hurt us. 
For the more riercely they assail us, and accuse antl 
torment us with their cryinf:^s, so much the more do we 
poau, and, in groaning, lay hold upon Christ, call upon 
mm with heart and mouthy cleave unto him, and believe 
tiiat he was made under the law, that he might deliver 
IS from Uie curse of the law and destroy both sin and 
death. And thus, when we have- taken hold of Christ 
by faith, we cry, through him, '^'\bba Father/' (GaL iv. 
6L) And this our cry doth far surmount the roaring of 
the kw, sin, the devil, &c- 

But so far is it that we think this groaning which we 

make in these terrors and this our weakness to be a cry, 

that scarcely we perceive it to be a groaning. For our 

faith, which in temptation thus groaneth unto Christ, is 

very weak, if we consider our own sense and feeling; 

tad therefore, we hear not this cry. We have but only 

the Word ; whicli, when we apprehend in this conflict, 

tehave a little breathing, and then we groan. Of this 

.^roauiog some little feeling we have, but the cry we 

bcir UDt, '* But he (saith Paul) which searcheth the 



hearts, knoweth what is the meaning of the Spirit," &c. 
(Rom. viii. 27.) To this searcher of the hearts, this 
small and feeble groaning (as it seemeth linto us) is a 
loud and mighty cry, and an unspeakable groaning : in 
comparison whereof, the great and horrible roarings of 
the law, of sin, of death, of the devil, and of hell, are 
nothing, neither can they be once heard. Paul, there- 
fore, not without cause, calleth this groaning of a godly 
afflicted heart, a cry, and a groaning of the spirit which 
cannot be expressed. For it filleth heaven ; so that the 
angels thitik they hear nothing else but this cry. 

But in us, there is a clean contrary feeling. For it 
seemeth unto us, that this our small groaning doth not 
so pierce the clouds, that there is nothing else heard in 
heaven of God or his angels. Nay, we think, and espe- 
cially during the time of temptation, that the devil hor- 
ribly roareth against us, that the heavens thunder and 
the earth trembleth, that all will fall upon us, that all 
creatures threaten our destruction, that hell is open and 
ready to swallow us up. This feeling is in our heart, 
and these horrible voices and this fearful show we hear 
and we see. And this it is that Paul saith, in S Cor. an. 
that " the strength of Christ is made perfect throu^ 
weakness." For then is Christ almighty indeed, then 
doth he truly reign and triumph in us, when we are so 
weak that we can scarcely groan. But Paul saith, that 
this groaning is, in the ears of God, a most mighty cry 
which filleth both heaven and earth ! 

Christ also, in the eighteenth of Luke, in the para- 
ble of the wicked judge, calleth this groaning of a faith- 
ful heart a cry ; yea, and such a cry, as ceaseth not day 
and night to cry unto God ; where he saith, " Hear 
what the unrighteous judge saith. Now shall not God 
avenge his elect which cry day and night unto him ; yea, 
Aough he suffer long for them ? Yea, I tell you he will 
avenge them quickly." We at this day, in so great per- 
secution and contradiction of the Pope, of tyrants and 
sectaries which fight against us both on the right hand 
and on the left, can do nothing else but utter sudh 
grbanings. And these were our guns and artillery, where? 


with we have so many years scattered tlie counsels and 
eolerpruDes of our aiJversaries ; whereby also, we have 
b^un to overthrow die kingdom of antichrist. They 
abo shall provoke Christ to hasten the day of his glori- 
OQS comingi wherein he shall abolish all rule, authority, 
and power, and shall put all his enemies under his feet. 
So be it! 

In the fourteenth of Exodus, the Lord speaketh unto 
Moses at the Red Sea, saying, '* Why criest thou unto 
me?'' Yet Moses cried not, but trembled and almost 
despaired, for he was in great trouble. It seemed that 
infidelity reigned in him, and not faith. Fur he saw the 
people of Israel so compassed and enclosed with the 
Egyptian host and with the sea, that there was no way 
whereby they might escape. Here Moses durst not once 
open his mouth. How then did he cry r We must not 
jndge, therefore, accortting to the feeling of our own 
heajTt, but according to the Word of God ; which teach- 
elfa us, that the Holy Ghost is given to those timt are 
afflicted, terrified, and ready to despair, to raise them 
up and to comfort them ; that they may not be over- 
come in their temptations and aiBictions, but may 
overcome them ; and yet, not without great terror and 

The Papists dreamed, * that holy men had the Holy 
Ghost in such sort, that they never had nor felt any 
temptation.' They spake of the Holy Ghost, only by 
speculation and naked knowledge. But Paul saith, that 
•*the strength of Christ is made perfect through our 
weakness.'' Also, that "the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, 
and maketh intercession for us with unspeakable groan- 
ings." Therefore, we have then most need of the help 
and comfort of the Holy Ghost, yea, and tlien he is 
most ready to help us, when we are most weak and 
nearest to desperation. If any man suffer affliction with 
a constant and joyful heart, then hath the Holy Ghost 
done his office in him. And indeed, he exerciseth his 
work specially and properly in those which have suf- 
fered great terrors and afflictions, and liave (as the 
Fkahn saith,) '' approached nigh to the gates of helLr 



As 1 said of Moses, which saw present death in the 
waters and on every side whithersoever he turned his 
face. He was therefore in extreme angCTish and despe- 
ration, and (no doubt) he felt in his heart a mighty cry 
of the devil against him ; saying, all this people shall 
this day perish, for they can escape no way ; and of this 
great calamity thou only shalt be found to be the author, 
because thou hast led them out of Egypt. Besides all 
this, the people cried out against him, saying, "Were 
there no graves in Egypt ? Thou hast brought us out 
that we should die here in the wilderness. Had it not 
been better for us to have served the Egyptians, than here 
wretchedly to die in the wilderness ? " (Exod. xiv. 1 !•) 
The Holy Ghost was not here in Moses by bare specu- 
lation and knowledge only, but truly and effectuallyi 
who made intercession for him with unspeakable groan- 
ing; so that he, sighed unto the Lord and said, "O 
Lord, at thy commandment have I led forth tWs people, 
help us therefore." This groaning and sighing unto 
God, the scripture calleth, a " crying." 

This matter I have the more largely prosecuted, that 
I might plainly shew what the office of the Holy Gho»t 
is, and when he specially exerciseth the same. In temp- 
tation, therefore, we must put no wise judge thereof ac- 
cording to our own sense and feeling, or by the crying 
of the law, sin, the devil, &c. If we here follow our owtt 
sense, and believe those cryings, we shall think our** 
selves to be destitute of all help and succour of the 
Holy Ghost, and utterly cast away from the presence of 
God. Nay rather, let us remember what Paul saith, ^ 
" The Spirit helpeth our infirmities," &c. : also, it ^ 
crieth, " Abba Father ; " that is to say, it uttereth fi ^ 
certain feeble sighing and groaning of the heart (as ^ ? 
seemeth unto us) which, notwithstanding, before God, f 
,ig a loud cry and an unspeakable groaning. Wherefore, 
in the midst of thy temptation and infirmity, cleave only "? 
unto Christ, and groan unto him ; he giveth the Hqly ^ 
^host which crieth, "Abba Father." And this feeble ^ 
groaning, is a mighty cry in the ears of God ; and so ' 
fiUeth heaven and earth, that God heareth nothing 


else ; and moreover, it stoppeth the cries of all other 
things whatsoever. 

Thou must mark also, that Paul saith, that the 
Spirit maketh intercession for us in our temptation ; not 
with many words, or long prayer, but only with a 
^oaning ; which, notwithstanding, cannot be expressed. 
And that he crieth, not aloud with tears, saying, '' Have 
mercy on me, O God," &c. (Ps. li. 1,) but only uttereth a 
little sound, and a feeble groaning, as, '' Ah Fatlier."" 
Hiis is but a little word, and yet notwithstanding, it 
comprehendeth all things. The mouth speaketh not, but 
tfie affection of the heart speaketh after this manner. 
Although I be oppressed with anguish and terror on 
every side, and seem to be forsaken and utterly cast 
away from thy presence, yet am I thy child, and thou 
•It my Father for Christ's sake. I am beloved l)ecause 
of the Beloved. Wherefore, this little word " Father" con- 
ceived effectually in the heart, passeth all the eloquence 
cS Demosthenes, Cicero, and of the most eloquent rhe- 
toricians that ever were in the world. This matter is not 
expressed wth words, but with groanings ; which groan- 
ings cannot be uttered with any words or eloquence, for 
DO tongue can express them. 

I have used many words to declare that a Christian 
Bust assure himself that he is in the favour of (iod, and 
diat he hath the crying of the Holy Cihost in his heart. 
This have I done, that we may learn to reject and 
atteriy to abandon that devilish o[)inion of the whole 
kingdom of the Pope ; which taught, ' tliat a man ought 
to be uncertain, and to stand in doubt of tlie gmce and 
fsLVouT of God towards him.' If this opinion l>c received, 
dien Christ profiteth nothing. Tor he tlmt doubtetli of 
God*s favour towards him, must needs doubt also of the 
ptomises of God ; and so, consequently, of the will of 
God, and of the benefits of Christ ; namely, tliat he was 
bcm, suffered, died, and rose again for us, &c. But 
diere can be no greater blasphemy against God, than to 
deny his promises, to deny God himself, and to deny 
Qunst, &c. Wherefore it was not only an extreme mad- 
bot an horriUe impiety, that the monks did so ear- 


tiestly. entice tfie youth, both men and women, to thefr 
monasteries, and to their holy orders (as tfiey called 
them,) as to a most certain state of salvation ; and yet, 
when they had thus done, they bade them doubt of Ae 
grace and favour of God towi^s them. 

Moreover, the Pope called all the world to the obe- 
dience of the church of Rome, as to an holy state in the 
which they might undoubtedly attain salvation ; and 
yet, after he^ had brought them under the obedience df 
the laws, he commanded them to doubt of dieir salva- 
tion. So, the kingdom of antichrist braggeth and vaunt- 
eth at the first of th^ holiness of his orders, his roles, 
and his laws, and assuredly promiseth everlasting life to 
such as observe and keep them ; but afterwards, when 
these miserable men have long afflicted their bodies 
with watching, fasting, and such like exercises, according 
to the traditions and ordinances of men, this is all that 
they gain thereby, — that they are uncertain whether 
this obedience please God or no I Thus, Satan most 
horribly dallied in the death and destniction of souls 
through the pope.^ and therefore is the papacy H 
slaughter-house of consciences, and the very kingdom 
of the devil ! 

Now to establish and confirm this pernicious and 
cursed error, they alleged the saying of Solomon. " The 
just and the wise men are in the hands of God ; and y^ 
no man knoweth whether he be worthy of love or 
hatred," (Eccles. ix. 1.) Some understand this of that 
which is to come, and some again of that which is pre- 
sent, but neither of them understand Solomon, who, in 
that place, meaneth nothing less than that which Aey 
dream. Morever, the whole scripture teacheth us, espe- 
cially, and above all things, that we should not doabt» 
but assure ourselves, and undoubtedly believe, that God 
is merciftil, loving, and patient ; that he is neither a 
dissembler nor deceiver; but that he is faithful and 
true, and keepeth his promise, yea, and hath performed^ 
in delivering his only begotten Son to death fbr cwnr 
sins, " that every one that believeth in him should not 
perish but have everlasting life." Here we cannot doabl 


but that God is pleased with us, that he loveth us in- 
deed, that the hatred and wratli of God is taken away, 
seeing he suffered his Son to die for us wretched sinners. 
Although this matter he set ont and often repeated 
throughout the whole Gospel, yet it profiteth nothing at 
alL This one saying of Solomon perversely understood, 
did more prevail, (especially among the votaries and hy- 
pocrites of the straiter religion,) than all the promises 
aad coosolations of the whole scripture, yea, than Christ 
himself. They abused the scripture, therefore, to their 
wm destruction, and were most justly punished for 
despising the scriptures and rejecting the Gospel 

It is expedient for us to know these things. First, 
because the Papists vaunt of their holiness as if they had 
never committed any evil : therefore, tliey must be con- 
fioced by their own abominations wherewith they have 
filled the whole world, as their own books do witness, 
whereof there is yet an infinite number. Secondly, that 
we may be fully certified that we have the pure doctrine 
of the Gospel ; of which, certainly, the Pope cannot 
^oiy; in whose kingdom, though all things else were 
soond and uncorrupt, yet this monstrous doctrine of 
dmbling God*s grace and favour, passeth all other 
WMSiBTs. And although it be manifest that the enemies 
of Christ's Gospel teach uncertain things, because they 
OMlttnand that men's consciences should remain in doubt, 
jet notwithstanding, they condemn and kill us as here- 
tics, because we dissent from them and teach those 
tliiags which are certain. And tliis they do with such 
fiei'ilish rage and cruelty, as if they were most assured 
of tbeir doctrine. 

Ijet us therefore give thanks unto God, that we are 
ddivered from this monstrous doctrine of douljting, and 
cm i>ow assure ourselves, that the Holy Ghost crielh 
ind bringeth forth in our hearts ** unspeakable groan- 
©is.'' And this is our anchor- hold and our foundation. 
Tbe Gospel commandeth us to behold, not our own 
gpod works, our own perfection, Imt God the Promiser, 
•ad Christ the Mediator. Contrariwise, the Pope com- 
niandeth us la look, not unto (Jod the Promiser, nor 


unto Christ our high Bishop, but unto our works and 
merits. Here, on the one side, doubting and desperation 
must needs follow ; but on the other side, assurance of 
God's favour and joy of the Spirit. For we cleave unto 
God who cannot lie. For he saith, behold I deliver my 
Son to death, that, through his blood, he may redeem 
thee from thy sins and from eternal death. In this case, 
I cannot doubt unless I utterly deny God. And this is 
the reason that our doctrine is most sure and certain, be- 
cause it carrieth us out of ourselves ; that we should not 
lean to our own strength, our own conscience, our own 
feeling, our own person, and our own works, but to that 
which is without us ; that is to say, the promise and 
truth of God, which cannot deceive us. This the Pope 
knoweth not, be he never so just and so wise, whether 
he be worthy of love or of hatred. But if he be just and 
wise, he knoweth assuredly that he is beloved of God ; 
or else, he is neither just nor wise. 

Moreover, this sentence of Solomon speaketh nothing 
at all of the hatred or favour of God towards men, but it 
is a moral sentence reproving the ingratitude of men. 
For such is the perverseness and ingratitude of the 
world, that the better a man deserveth, the less thanks 
he shall have: and oftentimes, he that should be his 
most friend, shall be his most enemy : contrariwise, such 
as least deserve, shall be most esteemed. So David, a 
holy man and a good king, was cast out of the kingdom. 
The prophets, Christ, and his apostles, were slain. To 
conclude, the history of all nations witness, that many 
men well deserving of their country, were cast unto ba- 
nishment by their own citizens, and there lived in great 
misery; and some also shamefully perished in prison. 
Wherefore Solomon, in this place, speaketh, not of the 
conscience having to do with God, nor of the favour or 
judgment, the love or hatred of God, but of the judg- 
ments and affections of men among themselves. As 
though he would say, there are many just and wise men, 
by whom God worketh much good and giveth peace 
and quietness unto men : but so far off are they from 
acknowledging the same, that oftentimes they requite 


them again most unkindly and uncourteously for their 
well doings and deservings. Therefore, although a man 
do all things well, and never so well, yet he knoweth 
not whether, by this his diligence and faidifulness, he de- 
serves the hatred or favour of men. 

So we, at this day, when we thought we should 
have found favour among our own countrymen, (for we 
preach unto them the Gospel of peace, life, and eternal 
salvation,) instead of favour, we have found bitter and 
cruel hatred. Indeed, at the first, many were greatly de- 
lighted with our doctrine, and received it gladly. We 
thought they would have been our friends and brethren, 
and that with one consent together with us they would 
have planted and preached this doctrine to others. But 
now we find, that they are false brethren and our deadly 
enemies, which sow and spread abroad false doctrine ; 
and that which we teach well and godly, they wickedly 
pervert and overthrow, stirring uf) offences in the 
charches. Whosoever, therefore, doth his duty godly 
and faithfully, in what kind of life soever he be, and for 
his well-doing receiveth nothing (igain but the unkind- 
ness and hatred of men, let him not tease and torment 
himself therefore, but let him say with Christ, " They 
hated me without a cause." Again, " For that they 
should have loved me, they slandered me ; but I did 
pray,'' (Ps. cxix. 3, 4.) 

The Pope, therefore, uith this devilish doctrine 

whereby he commanded men to doubt of the favour of 

God towards them, took away (iod and all his promises 

out of the church, buried all the benefits of Christ, and 

abolished the whole Ciosi>el. These inconveniences do 

necessarily follow ; for men do not lean to the promises 

of God, but to their own works and merits. Therefore, 

they cannot be assured of the good-will of CJoil towards 

thrai, but must needs doubt thereof; and so, at length, 

despair. No man can understand what God's will is, and 

what pleaseth him, but in his good Word. This Word 

aswreth us, that Go<l hath cast away all the anger and 

' displeasure which he had conceived against us, when he 

gave his only begotten Son for our sins, &c. Wherefore, 


let us utterly abandon this devilish doubting wherewith 
the whole Papacy was poisoned, and let us be carefully 
assured that God is merciful unto us, that we please 
him, that he hath a care over us, and that we have the 
Holy Ghost which maketh intercession for us with such 
crying and groaning as cannot be expressed. 

Now this is the true " crying" and " groaning" in- 
deed, when a man in temptation calleth upon G(Kl, not 
as. a tyrant, not as an' angry judge, not as a tormentor, 
but as a ^^ Father;" although this groaning be so soft 
and so secret, that it can scarcely be perceived. For in 
serious temptations and in the time of trial, where die 
conscience wrestleth with the judgment of God, it is 
wont to call God not a " Father," but an unjust, an 
angry, a cruel tyrant and judge. And this crying which 
Satan stirreth up in the heart, far surpasseth tlie cry of 
the Spirit, and is strongly felt. For then it seemeth, 
that God hath forsaken us and will throw us down into 
hell. So the faithful complain oftentimes in the Psalms, 
" I am cast down from the presence of God," (Ps. xxxi. 
22.J Also, " I am become as a broken vessel," &c. 
This is not the groaning that crieth " Abba Father," 
but the roaring of God's wrath, which crieth strongly, O 
cruel judge, O cruel tormentor, &c. Here is now the 
time that thou turn away thine eyes from the law, from 
works, and from the sense and feeling of thy conscience, 
and lay hold by faith of the promise; that is to say, of 
the Word of grace and life, which raiseth up the con- 
science again ; so that now, it beginneth to groan and 
say, Although the law accuse me, sin and death terrify 
me never so much, yet, O my God, thou promisest 
grace, righteousness, and everlasting life, through Jesus 
Christ. And so, the promise bringeth a sighing and a 
groaning which crieth, '* Abba Father." 

VER. 7. 

Whertfore thou art no imre a servant^ but a son. 

This is the shutting up and the conclusion of that 
which he said before. As if he should say, this being 


trae, tfaia we have recebed the Spirit by the Gospel, 
wbcreby we cry, " Abba Father ; " then is this decree 
pronoanced in heaven, — that there is no bondage any 
more, bat more liberty and adoption. And who bringeth 
this liberty? Verily this groaning. By what means? 
The Father offeredi onto me, by his promise, his srace, 
and his fiEUheriy favour. This remaineth then — mat I 
diould receive this grace. And this is done, when I 
again with this groaning do cry, and with a childly heart 
do assent unto this name of ** Father." Here then the 
Father and die son meet, and the marriage is made up 
widioot all pomp and solemnity ; that is to say, nothing 
at ail cometh between; no law nor work is here re- 
quired. For what should a man do in these terrors and 
horrible darkness of temptations ? Here is nothing else 
but die Father promising and calling me son by Christ, 
who was made under the law, ftc. and I receiving and 
answering by this groaning, saying *' Father." Here 
then is no exacting ; nothing is required, but only that 
childly groaning that apprehendeth a sure ho()e and trust 
in tribulation, and saith, thou promisest and callcst me 
thy child for Christ's sake, and I again receive t[)y pro- 
mise and call thee " Father." Tnis is indeed to be 
made children simply and without any works. Kut these 
things, without experience and practice, cannot be un- 

Paul, in this place, taketh the word *' servant" 

otherwise than he did before in the third chapter ; where 

be saith, " There is neither bond nor free," &c. Here, he 

caiieth him a " servant" of the law, ^hich is subject to 

the law ; as he did a little before, " We were in bondage 

under the rudiments of the world." Wherefore, to be a 

servant, according to Paul in this place, is to be guilty 

and captive under the law, under the wrath of (iod and 

death ; to l)ehold God, not as a merciful Father, but as 

a tormentor, an enemy, and a tyrant. This is indeed to 

be kept in bondage and Bal)ylonical captivity, and to be 

cruelly tormented therein. For the law delivereth not 

from sin and death, but revealeth and increaseth sin and 

cagedderetb wrath. This bondage (saith Paul, Rom. 


iii. SO, Rom. iv. 15,) continueth no longer, it oppresseth 
us and maketh us heavy no more, &c. &c. Paul saith, 
" Thou shalt be no more a servant." But the sentence 
is more general if we say, There shall be no bondage in 
Christ any more, but more freedom and adoption. For 
when faith cometh, that bondage ceaseth; as he said 
before in the third chapter. 

Now if we, by the Spirit of Christ crying in our 
heart "Abba Father," be no more servants, but children ; ^ 
then it followeth, that we are not only deUvered from the 
Pope and all the abominations of men's traditions, but 
also from all the jurisdiction and power of the law of 
God. Wherefore, we ought in no wise to suffer the law 
to reign in our consciences, and much less the Pope 
with his vain threatenings and terrors. Indeed, he 
roareth mightily as a lion, (Apoc. x.) and threateneth to 
all those that obey not his laws, the wrath and indigna- 
tion of Almighty God, and of his blessed apostles, &c. 
But here, Paul armeth and comforteth us against these 
roarings ; when he saith, " Thou art no more a servant, 
but a son." Take hold of this consolation by faith, and 
say, O law, thy tyranny can have no place in the throne 
where Christ my Lord sitteth; there, I cannot hear 
thee, (much less do I hear thee, O Antichrist,) for I am 
free and a son ; who must not be subject to any bondage 
or servile law. Let not Moses, therefore, with his laws 
(much less the Pope) ascend up into the bride-chamber 
there to lie ; that is to say, to reign in the conscience ; 
which Christ hath delivered from the law^ to the end that 
it should not be subject to any bondage. Let the servants 
abide with the ass in the valley; let none but Isaac 
ascend up into the mountain with his father Abraham, 
(Gen. xii. 5.) That is, let the law have dominion over 
the body and over the old man ; let him be under the law 
and suffer the burden to be laid upon him ; let him 
suffer himself to be exercised and vexed with the law : 
let the law limit and prescribe him what he ought to do, 
what he ought to suffer, and how he ought to live and 
govern himself among men. But let it not defile the bed 
in which Christ should rest and sleep alone ; that is to 


say, let it not troable the conscience. For she alone 
on^t to live with Christ her spouse in the kingdom of 
liberty and adoption. "^ 

If then (saith he) by the Spirit of Christ ye cry 
** Abba Father," then are ye indeed no longer servants, 
bot free men and sons. Therefore, ye are without the 
law, without sin, without death ; that is to say, ye are 
saved ; and ye are now quite delivered from all evils. 
Wherefore, the adoption bringeth with it the eternal 
kingdom and all the heavenly inheritance. Now, how 
inestimable the glory of this gift is, man's heart is not 
able to conceive, and much less to utter. In the mean- 
time, we see this but darkly, and as it were, afar off; we 
have this little groaning and feeble faith, which only 
resteth upon the hearing and the sound of ttie voice of 
Christ in giving the promise. Therefore we must not 
measure this thing by reason, or by our own feeling, but 
by the promise of God.. Now, because he is infmite, 
therefore, his promise is also infinite, although it seem 
to be never so much enclosed in these narrow straits ; 
(these anguishes I mean.) Wherefore, there is nothing 
that can now accuse, terrify, or bind the conscience any 
more. For there is no more servitude, but adoption ; 
which not only bringeth us unto liberty from the law, 
SID, and death ; but also, the inheritance of everlasting 


Galatians v. 17. 

Far the Jksh lusteth against the Spirit j and the 
Spirit against thejlesh. 

When Paul saith that '^ the flesh lusteth against the 
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh," he admonisheth 
us that we must feel the concupiscence of the flesh ; 
that is to say, not only carnal lust, but also pride, wrath, 
heaviness, impatience, incredulity, and such like. Not- 
withstanding, he would have us so to feel them, that we 
eoQseot not unto them nor accomplish them ; that is, 
that we neither diink, speak^ nor do those things which 


the flesh provoketh us unto. As, if it move us to anger, 
yet we should be angry in such wise as we are taught in 
the fourth Psalm, that we sin not. As if Paul Mould 
thus say, I know that the flesh will provoke you unto 
wrath, envy, doubting, incredulity, and such like ; but 
resist it by the Spirit, that ye sin not. But if ye forsake 
the guiding of the Spirit and follow the flesh, ye shall 
fulfil the lusts of the flesh, and ye shall die; as Paul 
saith in the eighth to the Romans. So, this saying of the 
apostle is to be understood, not of fleshly lusts only, but 
of the whole kingdom of sin. 

VERSE 17. 

And these are contrary the one to the other ^ so that ye 
cannot do the things that ye would. 

These two captains or leaders, saith he, the flesh 
and the Spirit, are one against another in your body, so 
that ye cannot do what ye would. And this place wit- 
nesseth plainly, that Paul writeth these things to the 
faithful ; that is, to the church believing in Christ, bap- 
tized, justified, renewed, and having full forgiveness of 
sins. Yet notwithstanding, he saith she hath flesh re- 
belling against the Spirit. After the same manner he 
speaketh of himself in the seventh to the Romans, " I, 
(saith he) am carnal and sold under sin." And again, 
" I see another law in my members, rebelling against 
the law of my mind, and leading me captive under the 
law of sin which is in my members." Also, "O wretched 
man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of 
this death?" &c. 

Here not only the schoolmen, but a|so some of the 
old fathers are much troubled, seeking l?ow they may 
excuse Paul. For it seemeth unto them absurd and un- 
seemly, to say, that the elect vessel of Christ should have 
sin. But we credit Paul's own words, wherein he plainly 
confesseth, that he is sold under sin, that he is led cap- 
tive of sin, that he hath a law in his members rebelliiig 
against him, and that in his flesh he serveth the law d( 
sin. Here again they answer, that the apostle speaketh 
in the person of the wicked. But the wicked do not 


laio of the rebellion of tlieir flesh, of any battle or 
conflict, or of the captivity and bontlage of sin ; for sin 
mightily reigneth in them. This is there tbre the very 
complaiDt of Paul, and of all the faithful. Wherefore 
they have done very wickedly, which have excused Paul 
tad all the faithful to have no sin. For by this persua- 
sion, (which proceedeth of ignorance of the doctrine of 
faith,) they have robbed the church of a singular conso- 
lation, they have abolished the forgiveness of sins, and 
made Christ of none effect. 

Wherefore, when Paul saith, " I see another law in 
ray members,' &c. he denieth not that he hath flesh and 
the vices of flesh in him. It is likely, therefore, that he 
felt sometimes the motions of carnal lust. But yet, no 
doubt, these motions were well suppressed in him by the 
great and grievous afltictious and temptations both of 
mind and body wherewith he was in a manner continu- 
ally exercised and vexed, as his epistles do declare ; or, 
if he at any time be merry and strong, and felt the lust 
of the flesh, wrath, impatiency, and such like, yet, he 
lesi&ted them by the Spirit, and suflered not these rao-^ 
tioos to bear rule in him. Therefore, let us in no wise 
suuer such comfortable places, (whereby Paul describeth 
thi battle of the flesh against the Spirit in his own body,) 
lo be corrupted with such foolish glosses. The school- 
meo, the monks, and such other, never felt any spiritual 
tODptations ; and therefore, tliey fought only for the re- 
presstDg and overcoming of fleshly lust and lechery ; 
aod beiDg proud of that victory which they never yet ob- 
tained » diey thought themselves far better and more 
My than married men. I will not say, that under this 
kaly pretence they nourished and maintained all kinds 
of horrible sins, dissension, pride, hatred, disdain, and 
despising of their neighbours, trust in their own righte- 
OQsoess, presumption, contempt o( all godliness and of 
ihe iwofd of God, infidelity, blasphemy, and such like. 
Ag^iinst these sins they never fought : nay rather, they 
took them to be no sins at all : they put righteousness 
iQ the keeping of their foolish and wicked vows, and 


unrighteousness in the neglecting and contemning of 
the same. 

But this must be our ground and anchor*hold, — 
that Christ is our only and perfect righteousness. If we 
have nothing whereunto we may trust, yet these &ree 
things, as Paul saith, faith, hope, and love, do ranain. 
Therefore, we must always believe and always hope; we 
must always take hold of Christ as the Hdad and foan- 
dation of our righteousness. — ^^ He that believeth in him 
shall not be ashamed," (Rom. ix. S3.) Moreover, we 
mu9t labour to be outwardly righteous also : that is to 
. say, not to consent to the flesh, which always enticeth us 
to some evil, but to resist it by the Spirit. We must not 
be overcome with impatiencv^ for the unthankfulness 
and contempt of the people which abuseth the Christian 
liberty 4 but, through the Spirit, we must overcome diis 
and all other temptations. Look then, how much we 
strive against the flesh by the Spirit, so much are we 
outwardly righteous. Albeit this righteousness doth not 
commend us before God. 

Let no man therefore despair, if he feel the flesh 
oftentimes to stir up new battle against the Spirit ; qp if 
he cannot by-and-by subdue the flesh, and make it g^ 
dient unto the Spirit I also do wish myself to have a 
more valiant and constant heart, which might be able 
not only boldly to contemn the threatenings of tyrants^ 
the heresies, oflences, and tumults which Satan and his 
soldiers, the enemies of the Gospel, stir up; butalsA, 
might by-and-by shake off the vexations and anguish <tf 
spirit; and briefly, might not fear the sharpness of death, 
but receive and embrace it as a most friendly guest But 
'^ I find another law in my members, rebelling against 
the law of my mind,'' &c. Some other do wrestle with 
inferior temptations, as poverty, reproach, impatiency, 
and such like. 

Let no man marvel, therefore, or be dismayed, when 
he feeleth in his body this battle of the flesh against die 
Spirit; but let him pluck up his heart and comfort him-» 
self with these words of Paul, ^^ the flesh lusteth against 


tbe spirit.'* Also ^* these are contrary one to another, 
so diat ye cannot do those things that ye would/' For 
by these sentences, he comfortetti them that be tempted. 
As if he should say, it is impossible for you to follow 
the guidings of the Spirit in all things, without any 
feding or hinderance of the flesh ; nay the flesh will re- 
sist, and so resist and hinder you, that ye cannot do 
diose things that ye gladly would. Here it shall be 
OKnigh, if ye resist the flesh and fulfil not the lust 
diereof ; that is to say, if ye follow the spirit and not the 
flesh; which easily is overthrown by impatirncy, co- 
veteth to revenge, biteth, grudgeth, hateth Gcxi, is 
logry with him, despaireth, &c. Therefore, when a man 
fedeth this Sattle of the flesh, let him not be discouraged 
therewith ; but let him resist in spirit, and say, I am a 
siooer, aad I feel sin in me ; for I have not yet put oflT 
the flesh, in which sin dwelleth so lone as it liveth ; but 
I will obey the spirit and not the flesh ; that is, I will, 
by faith and hope, lay hold upon Christ; and, by his 
nordy I will raise up myself, and being so raised up, I 
will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. 

It is vefy profitable for the godly to know this, and 

to bear it well in mind, for it wonderfully comforteth 

tbem when they are tempted. When I was a monk, I 

tfmaght by-and-by that I was utterly cast away if at any 

time I felt the lust of the flesh ; that is to say, if I felt 

any evil motion of fleshly lust, urath, hatred, or envy 

■gainst any brother. I essayed many ways to quiet my 

conscience ; but it would not l)e, for the concu))iscence 

and lust of my flesh did always return ; so that I could 

BOt rest, but was continually vexed with these thoughts : 

—This or that sin thou hast committed ; thou art in- 

fiscted with envy, with impatiency, and such other sins ; 

dmefore, tliou art entered into this holy order in vain, 

and all thy good works are unprofitable. If then I had 

i^tly understood these sentences of Paul, " The flesh 

hitetn contrary to the s[>irit, and the spirit contrary to 

dtt flesh, and these two are one against another, so that 

ve cannot do the things that ye would do,'' I should not 

we SQ miserably tormentedf myself; but should have 



thought and said to myself, as now commonlv I do, 
Martin, thou shalt not utterly be without kin, ior thoa 
hast flesh ; thou shalt therefore feel the iMtde thereof 
according to that saying of Paul, " The flesh Tesisteth 
the spirit." Ddspair not, therefore, but resist it ttroo^j 
and ftilfil not the lusts thereof. Thus doing thoa* tftndl 
under the law. 

I remember that Staupitius was wont to say, 'I 
have vowed unto God above a thousand times ttmt I 
would become a better man ; but I never perfoitMd 
that which I vowed. Hereafter I will make no sodi 
vow; for I have now learned by experience, that I ada 
not able to perform it. Unless therefore God be &r 
vourable and merciful unto me for Christ's 'sake, and^ 
grant unto me a blessed and a happy hour when I shall 
depart out of this miserable life, I shall not be able witB 
all my vows and all my good deeds to stand befbiehim.^ 
This was not only a true, but also a godly and a hoH 
desperation ; and this must they all confess, both win 
mouth and heart, which will be Saved. For the godMr 
trust not to their own righteousness, but say widi DJBLvi^ 
'* Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in tfaf 
sight shall none that liveth be justified,'' (Ps. cxIiiL 8.) 
Again, ''If thou, O Lord, shouldst straitly mark ini^ 
quities, O Lorf, who shall stand?" (Ps. xxx. 3.) Th^* 
look unto Christ their reconciler, who gave his life fiv 
their sins. Moreover, they know, that the remnant itl^ 
sin which is in their flesh, is not laid to their charge,' bttt 
freely pardoned. Notwithstanding, in the meanwfaBl^'; 
they fight in spirit agninst the flesh, lest they should fbHI ; 
die lusts thereof. And although they fed the flesh lb 
rage and rebel against the spirit, and themselves als6 do 
sometimes fall into sin through infirmity, yet are tiUf * 
not discouraged, nor think therefore that their state aaS ^ 
kind of life, and the works which are done according* tt 
their calling, displease God, but they raise up thotf- 
selves by faith. - ' * 

The faithful, therefore, receive great consolation fay 
this doctrine of Paul, in that they know thenmlvQk tt 
have part of the flesh and part of the spirit ; but yM M, 


notwithstanding, that the spirit ruleth and the desh is 
sabdued and kept under awe, that righteousness reigneth 
and sin serveth. He that knoweth not this doctrine, and 
lliinkelh that the £uthful ought to be without all fault, 
and yet seeth the contrary in himself, must needs at the 
lengdi be swallowed up by the spirit of heaviness, and fall 
into desperation. But whoso kpoweth tliis doctrine well, 
md usedi it rightly, to him the things that are evil turn 
onto good. (Kom. viii. S8.) For when the flesh pro- 
foketh him to sin by occasion thereof, he is stirred up 
and forced to seek forgiveness of sins by Christ, and to 
embrace the righteousness of faith, which else, he would 
iiot so greatly esteem, nor seek for the same with so 
mat desire. Therefore, it profiteth us very much, to 
wd sometimes the wickedness of our nature and corrup* 
tkm of our flesh, that yet, by this means, we may be 
waked and stirred up to faith, and to call upon Christ. 
And by this occasion, a Christian becometh a mighty 
workman, and a wonderful creator : which, of heaviness 
can make joy, of terror comfort, of sin righteousness, 
and of death life; when he by this means, repressing 
and bridling the flesh, maketh it subject to the spirit. 

Wherefore, let not them which feel the lust of the 
fleshy despair of their salvation. I^t them feel it and all 
ihe force thereof, so that they consent not to it. Let the 
passions of lust, wrath, and other such vices, shake 
fhan^ so that they do not overthrow them. Let sin assail 
i Aem, so that they do not accomplish it. Yea, the more 
ndly a man is, the more doth he feel that battle. And 
hereof come these lamentable complaints of the faithful 
ia the Psalms, and in the holy scripture. Of this battle, 
die hermits, the monks, the schoolmen, and all that seek 
li^teousness and salvation by works, know nothing at all. 
But here may some man say, that it is a dangerous 
aatter to teach that a man is not condemned, if, by- 
ad-by he overcome not the motions and passions of the 
iesh which he feeleth. Tor when this doctrine is taught 
vnongst the common people, it maketh them careless, 
ae^igent, and slothful. This is it which I said a little be- 
faie, that if we teach faith, then carnal men neglect and 



reject works. If works be required, then is faith and 
consolation of conscience lost. Here no man can be 
compelled, neither can there be any certain rule pre- 
scribed. But let every man diligently try himself to 
what passion of the flesh he is most subject ; and when 
he finaeth that, let him not be careless nor flatter him- 
self, but let him watch and wrestle in spirit against it ; 
that, if he cannot altogether bridle it, yet at the least he . 
do not fulfil the lusts thereof. ' 

This battle of the flesh all the children of God hav« ' 
had, and felt. And the same do we also feel and prove^ i 
He that searcheth his own conscience, if he be not an 
hypocrite, shall well perceive that to be true in himself ^ 
which Paul here saith ; that " the flesh lusteth against 
the spirit." All the faithful, therefore, do feel and con- ^^ 
fess, that their flesh resisteth against the spirit, and thi^ ! 
these two are so contrary the one to the other in them^ 
selves, that do what they can, they are not able to per- ^ 
form that which they would do. Therefore, the fle^ ^ 
hindereth us that we cannot keep the commandments of ^ 
God ; that we cannot love our neighbours as ourselves; .^ 
much less can we love God with all our hearts. There-' '* 
fore, it is impossible for us to become righteous by the -'^ 
works of the law. Indeed, there is a good will in us, and *' 
so must there be, (for it is the spirit itself which resistedl ^^' 
the flesh,) which would gladly do good, fulfil the lawj |^ 
love God and his neighbour, and such like; but the|r 
flesh obeyeth not this good-will, but resisteth it; and? 
yet, God imputeth not unto us this sin, for he is mercifi^;t' 
to those that believe, for Christ's sake. i ^ 

But it folio weth not, therefore, that thou shouldst,^ 
make a light matter of sin because God doth notl^ 
impute it. True it is that he doth not impute i(i^i 
But to whom, and for what cause? To such asvf 
repent and lay hold by faith upon Christ the mercy* ^ 
seat, for whose sake, as all their sins are forgiven then^-^ 
even so the remnants of sin which are in them bt^ 
not imputed unto them ! They make not their sin ieap^^ 
than it is, but amplify it, and set it out as it is iodeec^ ^ 
¥oT they know, that it cannot be put away by satisfiM:- ' 


\30QSy works, or righteousness, but only by the death of 
Chiist. And yet, DOtwithstanding, the greatness and 
eaoffiDity of their sin, doth not cause them to despair; 
bat they assure themselves, that the same shall not be 
^pated onto them, or laid unto their charge. 

This I say, lest any man should think, that after 
faith is received, there is little account to be made of 
flEL Sin is truly sin, whether a man commit it before 
lie bath received the knowledge of sin, or after. And 
God always hateth sin; yea all sin is damnable, as 
loocfaing the fact itself But in that it is not damnable 
to him that believeth, it cometh of Christ, who, by his 
death, hath taken away sin. But to him that believeth 
not in Christ, not only all his sins are damnable, but 
eten his i^ood works also are sin; accord in<: to that 
siying, ** Whatsoever is not of faith is sin," (Horn. xiv. 
iS.) Therefore, the error of the schoolmen ib most |)er- 
nicious, ^vhich do distinguish sins according to the fact, 
and not according to the person, lie that believeth, 
hath as great sin as the unbeliever. But to him that be- 
ttereth* it is forgiven and not imputed ; to the un- 
bdiever, it is not pardoned but imputed. To the be- 
liever, it is venial; to the unl>eliever, it is mortal and 
damnable. Not for any difference of sins, or because the 
sn of the believer is less, and the sin of the unbeliever 
neater, but for the difference of the persons. For the 
nkhfiil assureth himself by faith, that his sins are for- 
pven him, forasmuch as Christ hath given himself for 
k. Therefore, although he have sin in him, and daily 
anoeth, yet, he continueth godly. But contrariwise, tfa^ 
■dieliever continueth wicked. And this is the true wis- 
dom and consolation of the godly : — that, although 
diey have and commit sins, yet, they know, that tor 
Christ^s sake, they are not imputed unto them. 

This I say for the comfort of the godly. For they 

oaly have and feel, indeed, that they have and do cotn- 

»ns ; that is to say, they feel that they do not love 

» B God so fervently as they should do, that they do not be- 

L I iiefe him so heartily as they would, but ratlier, they 

oftentimes doubt whether God have a care of them or 



DO ; they are impatieDt, and are angry with God in ad* 
versity. Hereof, as I have said, proceed Ae sonrowfbl 
complaints of the faithful in the scriptures, and espe- 
cially in the Psalms. And Paul lumself complainelfa, 
that he is ^' sold under sin," (Rom. vii. 14.) ^ And.lfeif 
he saith, that " the flesh resisteth and lebdlcdi agoinsf 
the spirit." But because they mortii^ the deeds of fik 
flesh by the spirit, (as he saith in another place, and also 
in the end of this chapter,) " They crudfy the flesh wffli 
the desires and lusts thereof,** (Gal. v. S4); therefen^ 
these sins do not hurt them nor condemn them. But if 
they obey the flesh in fulfilling the lust thereof, then dp 
they lose faith and the Holy Ghost. And if they do not 
abhor their sin, and return unto Christ, (who hath given 
power to his church to receive and raise up those that be 
fallen so that they may recover faith and the Hol^ 
Ghost,) they die in their sins.. Wherefore, we speak not of 
them which dream that they have faith, and yet continoe 
still in their sins. These men, have tibeir judgment al- 
ready : " They that live after the flesh shall die.'' Also, 
" The works of the flesh are manifest ; which are, iadaW 
tery, fornication, uncleanness, wantonness, idoktiy, 
witchcraft, hatred, debate, emulations, wratfi,, conten- 
tions, seditions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkamesi^ 
gluttony, and such like : whereof I tell you before, •»] 
also I have told you, that they which do such thingij 
shall not inherit the kingdom of God."' 

Hereby we may see who be very saints indeed. Thflffi 
be not stocks and stones, (as the monks and schoolma • 
dream,) so that they are never moved with any iaaf^^ 
never feel any lust or desires of the flesh ; but, as Fknl 
saith, ''their flesh lusteth against the spirit;" and 
therefore, they have sin, and both can and do sin. And 
the thirty-second Psalm witncsseth, that the faithful do 
confess dieir unrighteousness, and pray that the wicked- 
ness of their sin may be forgiven ; where it saith, *' I wfll 
confess against myself my wickedness unto the Loidi 
and thou forgavest the punishment of my sin. Therefora^ 
shall $very one that is godly make his prayer unto tfaee," 
&c. Moreover, the whole church, which indeed is holy, 

lyeth that her sins may be forgiven her ; and it be- 
I the forgiveness of ains. And in the 143d Psalm, 
David prnyeth, " O Lord, enter not into judgment with 
diy servant, for in thy sight shall none that liveth be 
justified." And in ?salm cxxx. *' If thou, O Lord, 
diooldest straitly mark iniquities, Lord, who shall stand 
ID thy presence ? But with thee !s mercy/* &c. Thus do 
the chiefest saints and children of God speak and pray ; 
IS David, Paul, &c. All the faithful, therefore, do speak 
and pray the same thing, and with the same spirit* The 
Popbh sophisters read not the scriptures ; or^ if they 
read tliem, they have a veil before their eyes ; and there- 
fore, as they cannot judge rightly of any, so they cannot 
jttdge rightly either of sin or of holiness, 

VERSE 18, 

If ye be led hy the Spirit^ ye are not under the law. 

Paul cannot forget the doetrine of faith, but still re- 
peateth it, and beateth it into their heads, yea, even 
when he treateth of good works. Here some man may 
object, how can it be that we should not be under the 
Ian ? And yet thou, notwithstanding, O Paul, teachest 
OS that we have flesh which lusteth against the spirit, 
aod fighteth against us, torraenteth us, and bringeth us 
iuto bondage. And indeed we feel sin, and cannot be 
■|lelivered from the fe«ling thereof, though we should 
^K^ver so fain. And what is this else but to be under the^ 
kw ? But he saith let this nothing trouble you, only do 
your endeavour that ye may be led by the Spirit ; that 
ift to say, shew yourselves willing to follow and obey 
that will which resisteth the flesh, and doth not accom- 
plish the lusts thereof, (for this is to be led and to be 
drawn by the Spirit,) then are ye not under the law. So 
Paul speaketh of himself (Rom, vii,) " In my mind I 
9&ve the law of God ; ' that is to say, in spirit I am 
not subject to any sin, but yet in my flesh I serve the law 
of sin. The faithful then are not under the law ; that is 
10 say, in spirit, for the law cannot accuse them, nor 



pronounce sentence of death against them, although 
they feel sin and confess themselves to be sinners, for the 
power and strength of the law is taken from it by 
Christ, " Who was made under the law, that he might 
redeem them which were under the law," (GaL iv. 4.) 
Therefore the law cannot accuse that for sin in the fiiith- 
ful, which is sin indeed, and committed against the law. 

So great then is the power and dominion of the 
Spirit, that the law cannot accuse the ^dly, though 
they commit that which is sin indeed. For Christ is 
our righteousness, whom we apprehend by faith ; he is 
without all sin, and therefore the law cannot accuse him. 
As long as we cleave fast unto him, we are led by the 
Spirit, and are free from the law. And so, the apostle 
even when he teacheth good works, forgetteth not his 
doctrine concerning justification ; but always sheweth 
that it is impossible for us to be justified by works. For 
the remnants of sin, cleave fast in our flesh ; and there- 
fore, so long as our flesh liveth, it ceaseth not to lust 
contrary to the spirit. Notwithstanding, there cometh 
no danger unto us thereby, because we are free from the 
law, 30 that we walk in the Spirit. 

And with these words, " If ye be led by the Spirit^ 
ye are not under the law ;" thou mayest greatly comfort 
thyself and others that are grievouly tempted. For it 
oftentimes cometh to pass, that a man is so vehemently 
assailed with wrath, hatred, impatiency, carnal desire, 
terror, and anguish of spirit, or some other lust of the 
flesh, that he cannot shake them off, though he would 
never so fain. What should he do in this case ? Should 
he despair ? No, God forbid : but let him say thus with 
himself. My flesh fighteth and rageth against the spirit 
Let it rage as long as it listetii, only see thou that in any 
case thou consent not to it, to fulfil the lusts thereof, but 
walk wisely and follow the leadings of the Spirit. In so 
doing thou art free from the law. It accuseth and ter- 
rifiem thee I grant, but altogether in vain. In this con- 
flict therefore of the flesh against the spirit, there is no- 
thing better than to have the word of God before thine 
eyes, and therein to seek the comfort of the Spirit ! 


And let not him that suftbreth this temptation^ be 
dismayed, in that the devil can so aggravate sin, that 
Jaring the conflict, he thinketh himself to be utterly 
overthro^Ti^ feeling nothing else but the wrath of God 
tDd desperation. Here in anywise let him not follow hfs 
oim feeling and the judgment of reason, but let him 
take sure hold of this saying of Paul, *' if ye be led by 
ihe Spirit,'' that is to wit, if ye raise up and comfort 
yourselves through faith in Christ ye are not under the 
mr. So shall he have a strong byckler wherewith he 
m^ beat back all the fiery darts which the wicked fiend 
lasatleth him withal. IIow much soever then the flesh 
doth boil and rage, yet cannot her motions and rages 
hurt and condemn him, forasmuch as he, following the 
guiding of the Spirit, doth not consent unto the flesh, 
nor fulfil the lusts thereof. Therefore when the motions 
of llie flesh do rage, the only remedy is to take to us the 
sword of the Spirit, that is to say, the word of salva- 
tion (which is, that God would not the death of a sinner, 
but that he convert and live) and to fight against them ; 
which if we do, let us not doubt but we shall obtain the 
victory, although so long as the battle endureth we feel 
the plain contrary. But set the word out of sight, and 
there is no counsel nor help remaining. Of diis that I 
mf^ I myself have good experience. I have suffered 
iDiiiy great passions, and the same also very vehement 
md great. But so soon as I have laid hold of any place 
of scripture, and stayed myself upon it, as upon my 
chief anchor-hold, straightuays my temptations did va- 
msh away, which without the word it had been impos- 
sible for me to endure any little space, and much less 
lo evercome them. 

The sum or effect therefore, of all that which Paul 
hath taught in this disputation or discourse concerning 
the conflict or battle between the flesh and the spirit, is 
this ; that the saints and the elect of God cannot per- 
foma that which the Spirit desireth. For the spirit 
iroiild gladly be altogether pure, but llie flesh being 
joiiied unto the spirit will not suffer that. Notwith- 
standing they be saved by the remission of sins which is 


io Christ Jesus. Moreover, because they walk in the 
Spirit, and are led by the Spirit, they be not under the 
law; that is to say, the law cannot accuse or terrify 
them, yea though it go about never so much so to do, 
yet shall it never be able to drive them to desperation. 

VERSE 19. 
Moreover^ the works of the flesh be manifest ^ which 
are, Sgc. 

This place is not unlike to this sentence of Christ, 
" by their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather 
grapes of thorns or figs of brambles ? So every good 
tree bringcth forth good fruit, and an evil tree bringeth 
forth evil fruit," &c. (Matt. vii. 16.) Paul teacheth the 
very same thing which Christ taught; that is to say, 
that works and fruits do sufficiently testify, whether the 
trees be good or evil, whether men follow the guiding of 
the flesh, or of the Spirit As if he should say, lest some 
of you might say for himself, that he understandeth me 
not, now when I treat of the battle between the flesh . 
and the spirit, I will set before your eyes first the 
works of the flesh, whereof many are known even to the 
Ungodly ; and then also the works of the Spirit. 

And this doth Paul, because there were many hypo- 
crites amongst the Galatians, (as there are also at this 
day among us,) which outwardly pretended to be godly 
men, and boasted much of the Spirit, and as touching 
the words, they understood the true doctrine of the 
Gospel ; but they walked not according to the Spirit, but 
according to the flesh, and performed the works tliereof. 
Whereby Paul manifestly convinceth them to be no 
such holy men indeed, as they boasted themselves to be. * 
And lest they should despise this his admonition, he 
pronounceth against them this dreadful sentence, that 
they should not be inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, 
to the end that, being thus admonished, they might 
amend. Every age, even in the faithful, hath his pecu- 
liar teilnptations ; as fleshly lusts assail a man most of all 
in his youth ; in his middle age ambition, and vain-glory ; 


id in hi^ old age covetoiisoess. There was never yet 
y af the faithful whom the flesh hath not often in his 
ifetime provoked to impatiency, anger, vain-glory, &c. 
\u!, therefore, speaking here of the faithful^ saith, that 
flesh kisteth in them against the spiritj &c, : therefore, 
shftll never be without the desires and battles of the 
flcsii^ notwithstanding they do not hurt them. But of this 
matter we must thus judge, that it is one thing to be 
provoked of the flesh, and yet not willingly to yield to the 
lusts and desires thereof^ but to walk after the leading 
of the Spirit, and to resist the flesh ; and anodier thing 
to assent unto the flesh, and without all fear or remorse 
to perform and foliil the works thereof, and to continue 
therein, and yet notwithstanding to counterfeit holiness, 
and to bmg of the Spirit. The lirst he comforteth, when 
he saith that they be led by the Spirit, and be not under 
the law. The other he threateneth with everlasting 

Notwithstanding, it sometimes happeneth, that the 
mntB do sometimes fall, and perform the lusts of the 
flesh, as David fell horribly into adultery. Also he was^ 
the cause of the slaughter of many men when he caused 
"rias to be slain in the forefront of the battle, and 
by also he gave occasion to the enemies to glory 
and triumph over the people of God, to worship their 
' Ills, and to blaspheme the God of Israel. Peter also 
11 most grievously and horribly when he denied Christ 
Rut although these sins were great and heinous^ yet 
were they not committed upon any contempt of God, 
of a wilful and obstinate mind; but through infirmity 
■ ^'eakness. Again, when they were admonished, they 
id not obstinately continue in their sins, but repented. 
ich he willeth afterwards, in the sixth chapter, to be 
ived, instructed, and restored, saying, ** If a man 
fallen by occasion, into any sin, ye which are spiri- 
tual restore such a one with the spirit of meekness, con- 
sidering thyself lest thou also be tempted/* To those 
therefore which sin, and fall through infirmity, pardon 
is not denied, so that they rise again and continue not 
in their sin, for of all things continuance in sin is the 


Worst. But if they repent not, but still obstinately con- 
tinue in their wickedness, and perform the desires of the 
flesh, it is a certain token that there is deceit in their 

No man, therefore, shall be without lusts and desires 
80 long as he liveth in the flesh, and therefore no man 
shall be free irorn temptations. Notwithstanding some 
are tempted one way and some another, according to the 
difference of persons. One man is assailed with more 
vehement and grievous motions, as with bitterness and 
Unguish of spirit, blasphemy, distrust, and desperation ; 
another with inore gross temptations, as with fleshly 
lusts, wrath, envy, covetousness, and such like. But in 
this case, Paul requireth that we walk in the Spirit, and 
resist the flesh. But whoso obeyeth the flesh, and conti- 
tiueth without the fear of God or remorse of conscience 
in accomplishing the lusts and desires thereof, let him 
know, that he pertaineth not unto Christ ; and although 
he brag of the name of a Christian never so much, yet 
doth he but deceive himself. For they which are of 
Christ do crucify their flesh with the affections and lusts 


This place, (as I have also forewarned you by the 
way,) containeth in it a singular consolation; for it 
teacheth us, that the saints and most holy men in the 
world, live not without concupiscence and temptations of 
the flesh, nor yet without sins. It warneth us therefore 
to take heed, that we do not as some did of whom God 
writeth, which laboured to attain to such perfection, 
that they might be without all feeling of temptations or 
sins : that is to say very stocks or stones. 

The like imagination the monks and schoolmen had 
of their saints, as though they had been very senseless 
blocks, and without all affections. The Virgin Mary felt 
great grief and sorrow of spirit when she missed her Son, 
(Lukeii.) David in the Psalms complaineth that he is 
almost swallowed up with the excessive sorrow for the 


greatness of his temptations and sins. Paul also com- 

piaioeth that he hath ^' battles without and terrors 

within/" (S Cor. vii. 5.) ; and that, ** in his flesh he 

serveth the law of sin." He saith that he is careful for 

all the churches, (8 Cor. ix. 28,) and that Ciod shewed 

great mercy towards him in that he delivered Epaphro- 

ditus being at the point of death to life again, lest he 

should have had sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore, the 

saints of the Papists are like to the stoics, who imagined 

such wise men as in the world were never yet to be 

found. And by this foolish and devilish persuasion, 

which proceeded from the ignorance of this doctrine of 

Paul, the schoolmen brought both themselves and others 

without number into horrible desperation. 

When I was a monk, I did oftentimes most heartily 
wish that I might once be so happy as to see the conver- 
sation and Ufe of some saint or holy man. But in the 
meantime, I imagined such a saint as lived in the wil- 
derness, abstaining from meat and drink, and living 
only with roots of herbs and cold water : and this opinion 
of those monstrous saints I had learned, not only out of 
the books of dhe sophisters and schoolmen, but also out 
of the books of the fathers. For thus writeth Ilierome 
in a certain place, ' As touching meats and drinks I say 
nothing: forasmuch as it is excess, that even such as 
are weak and feeble should use cold water, or eat any 
sodden thing,' &c. But now in the light of the Gospel, 
we plainly see who they are whom Christ and his 
apostles call saints, — not they which live a sole and a 
sin^e Hfe, or straitly observe days, meats, apparel, and 
such other things, or in outward appearance do other 
great and monstrous works, (as we read of many in the 
Uves of the fathers ;) but they which, being called by the 
sound of the Gospel, and baptized, do believe that they 
be justified and cleansed by the death of Christ. So 
Paul everywhere writing to the Christians calleth them 
holy, and the children and heirs of God, &c. Whosoever 
then do believe in Christ, whether they be men or 
women, bond or free, are all saints ; not by their own 
works, but by the works of God which they receive by 


faith, as his Word, his sacraments, the passion of Christ, 
his death, resurrection, victory, and the sending of the 
Holy Ghost. To conclude, they are saints through such 
a holiness as they freely receive, not through such a ho- 
liness as they themselves have gotten by their own in- 
dustry, good works, and merits. 

So the ministers of the Word, the magistrates of 
oommon-weals, parents, children, masters, servants, &c. 
are true saints ; if, first, and before all things, they assure 
themselves that Christ is their "wisdom, righteousness, 
sanctification, and redemption ; " secondly, if every one 
would do his duty in his vocation according to the rule 
of God's Word, and obey not the flesh, but repress the 
lust and desire thereof by the Spirit. .Now, whereas all 
be not of like strength to resist temptation, but many in- 
firmities and offences are seen in the most part of men, 
this nothing hindereth their holiness, so that their sins 
proceed not of an obstinate wilfulness, but only of frailty 
and infirmity. For, (as I have said before,) the godly do 
feel the desires and lusts of the flesh, but they resist 
them to the end that they accomplish them not. Also, 
if they at any time unadvisedly fall into sin, yet, not- 
withstanding, they obtain forgiveness thereof, if by faith 
in Christ they be raised up again ; who would not that 
we should drive away, but seek out and bring home the 
straying and lost sheep, &c. Therefore, God forbid that 
I should straightway judge those which are weak in 
faith and manners to be profane and unholy, if I see 
that they love and reverence the Word of God, come to 
the supper of the Lord, &Ci For these God hath re- 
ceived, and counteth them righteous, through the remis- 
sion of sins ; — to him they stand or fall, &c. 

Wherefore, with great rejoicing I give thanks to 
God, for that he hath abundantly, and above measure, 
granted that unto me which I so earnestly desired of 
him when I was a monk ; for he hath given unto me 
the grace to see, not one, but many saints ; yea, an infi- 
nite number of true saints ; not such as the sophisters 
have devised, but such as Christ himself and his apostles 
do describe. Of the which number I assure myself to he 


one. For I am baptized, and I do believe, that Christ 
is my Lord, by his death hath redeemed and delivered 
me Rom all my sins, and hath given to me eternal 
ri^teousness and holiness. And let him be holden 
accursed, whosoever shall not give this honour unto 
Christ, to believe, that by his death, his Word, &c. he is 
justified and sanctified. 

Wherefore, rejecting this foolish and wicked opinion 
concerning the name of saints, (which in the time of. 
Popery and ignorance we thought to pertain only to the 
saints which are in heaven and in earth, and to the 
hermits and monks which did certain great and strange 
works,) let us now learn, by the holy Scriptures, that 
all they which faithfully believe in Christ are saints. The 
world hath in great admiration the holiness of Benedict, 
Gregory, Bernard, Francis, and such like; because it 
heareth that they have done in outward appearance, 
and in the judgment of the world, certain great and ex- 
cellent works. Doubtless Hilary, Cyrill, Athanasius, 
Ambrose, Augustine and others were saints also, which 
lived. not so strait and severe a life as they did, but 
virere converscmt amongst men, and did eat common 
meats, drank wine, and used cleanly and comely appa- 
ni; so that in a manner, there was no difference between 
them and other honest men, as touching tlie common 
custom and the use of things necessary for this life, and 
yet were they to be preferred far above the other. These 
men taught the doctrine and faith of Christ sincerely and 
purely, without any superstition ; they resisted heretics, 
they purged the church from innumerable errors, their 
company and familiarity was comfortable to many, and 
especially to those which were afflicted and heav^- 
hearted, whom they raised up and comforted by the 
Word of God. For they did not withdraw themselves 
from the company of men, but they executed their 
offices even where most resort of people was. Contrari- 
wise, the other, not only taught many things contrary to 
the £uth, but also were themselves the authors and first 
inventors of many superstitions, errors, abominable ce- 
and wicked worshippings. Therefore, except 


at the hour of death, they laid hold of Christ and re- 
posed their whole trust in his death and victory, their 
strait and painful life availed them nothing at all. 

These things sufficiently declare, who be the true 
saints indeed, and which is to be called a holy life ; not 
the life of those which lurk in caves and dens, which 
make their bodies lean with fasting, which wear hair, 
and do other like things with this persuasion and trust, 
that they shall have singular reward in heaven above all 
other Christians ; but of those which be baptized and 
believe in Christ, which put off the old man with his 
works, but not at once ; for concupiscence and lust re- 
maineth in them so long as they live, the feeling whereof 
doth hurt them nothing at all, if they suffer it not to 
reign in them, but subdue it to the Spirit. 

This doctrine bringeth great consolation to godly 
minds, that when they feel these darts of the flesh where- 
with Satan assaileth the Spirit, they should not despair; 
as it happeneth to many in the Papacy, which thought 
that they ought to feel no concupiscence of the flesh ; 
whereas notwithstanding, Hierome, Gregory, Benedict, 
Bernard, and others, (whom the Monks set before them 
as a perfect example of chastity and of all Christian 
virtues,) could never come so far as to feel no concur 
piscence or lust of the flesh. Yea they felt it, and that 
very strongly. Which thing they acknowledge and 
plainly confess in divers places of their books. 

Therefore, we rightly confess in the articles of our 
belief, * that we believe there is a holy church.' For it 
is invisible, dwelling in Spirit, in a place that none caa 
attain unto ; and therefore, her holiness cannot be seen, 
for God doth so hide her and cover her with inflrmities, 
with sins, with errors, with divers forms of the cross and 
offences, that according to the judgment of reason, it is 
no where to be seen. They that are ignorant of this, 
when they see the infirmity and sins of those which are 
baptized, which have the Word and believe it, are by- 
and-by offended, and judge them not to pertain to the 
church. And in the meanwhile, they dream that the 
hermits and monks, and such other shavelings are the 


cfaurcfa, which honour God with their hps, and worship 
him in vain ; because they follow not the word of God, 
l»t the doctrines and commandments of men, and 
teach others to do the same. And because they do cer- 
fain superstitious and monstrous works, which carnal 
ieaM>n magnifieth and highly esteemetli, therefore they 
judge them only to be saints, and to be the church ; and in 
so doing, they change and turn this article of faith clean 
contrary, ' I believe that there is a holy church/ &c. 
and instead of this word * I believe* they put in * I see/ 
These kinds of righteousness and holiness of man's own 
dfetising, are nothing else but spiritual sorceries, wbere- 
^th the eyes and minds of men are blinded, and led 
ihwn the knowledge of true holiness. 

Bat thus teach ne, that the church hath no spot or 

*riokle^ but is holy ; and yet, through faith only in Christ 

Jesof, Again, that she is holy in life and conversation, 

bj&bstaining from the lusts of the tlesh and exercise of 

spiritual works ; but yet, not in such sort that she is ile- 

lirercd from all evil desires, or purged from all wicked 

opinioDS and errors ! For the church always confesseih 

her sms, and prayedi that her faults may be pardoned ; 

iba, she believeth the forgiveness of sins. The sairUs 

tberefore do sin, fall, and also err, but yet through igno- 

mnce. For they would not willingly deny Christ, nor 

Msake tlie Gospel, &c.; therefore, they have remission 

ff mis* And if ihrougli ignorance they err also in doc- 

trioe^ yet is this pardoned ; for in the end they acknow- 

their error, and rest only upon the truth and the 

of God otlbred in Christ; as Ilierome, Gregory, 

^ and others did. Let Christians then endeavour 

aid the worh of the flesh, but the desires or liisis of 

flesh they cannot avoid. 

It is very profitable therefore for them to feel the un- 
lusts of the flesh, lest diey should be pufibd up 
some vain and wicked opinion *>f the righteousness 
their own works, as tliough they were accepted before 
for the same. The monks being pufted up with 
optnion of their own righteousness, thought them- 
selves to be so holy, that they sold their righteousness 



and holiness to others, although they were convinced by 
Xhe testimony of their own hearts that they werie unclean. 
So pernicious and pestilent a poison it is for a man to 
trust in his own righteousness, and to think himself 
to be clean. But the godly, because they feel the un- 
cleanness of their own hearts, therefore they cannot trust 
to their own righteousness. This feeling so maketh 
them to stoop, and so humbleth them, that they cannot 
trust to their own good works, but are constrained to fly 
unto Christ their mercy-seat and only succour; who 
bath not a corrupt and sinful, but a most pure and holy 
flesh, which*'' he hath given for the life of the world !" 
(John iv. 51.) In him tliey find a sound and perfect 
righteousness ! TJhus, they continue in humility, not 
counterfeit and monkish, but true and unfeigned, because 
of the uncleanness which yet remaineth in their flesh ; for 
the which, if God would straitly judge them, they should 
be found guilty of eternal death, liut because they lift 
not up themselves proudly against God, but with a 
broken and a contrite heart, humbly acknowledging their 
. sins, and resting wholly upon the benefit of the Me- 
diator Christ, they come forth into the presence of 
God, and pray that for his sake their sins may be for- 
given them ; God spreadeth over them an infinite hea* 
ven of grace, and doth not impute unto them their sins, 
for Christ's sake ! 

This I say, to the end that we may take heed of the 
pernicious errors of the Papists touching the holiness 
of life, wherein our minds are so wrapped, that without 
great difiiculty we could not wind ourselves out of them. 
Wherefore do you endeavour with diligence, that ye may 
discern, and rightly judge between true righteousness 
and holinefs, and that which is hypocritical ; then shall 
ye behold the kingdom of Christ with other eyes, than 
carnal reason doth, that is with spiritual eyes, and cer- 
tainly judge those to be true saints indeed, which are 
baptized, and believe in Christ, and afterwards, in the 
same faith whereby they are justified, and their sins both 
past and present are forgiven, do abstain from the de*^ 
sire^ of the flesh. But from these desires they ace not 


ihorouglY cleansed, for the flesli losteth against the 
spirit Notwithstanding, these nncleaii and rebellious 
Iu5t5 do still remain in them, to this end, that they may 
be humbled ; and being so humliled, they may feel tlve 
directness of the grace and benefit of Clirist. So these 
lennant'^ of unclean lusts and sins do nothing at all 
hinder, but greatly further the godly, for the more they 

rfeel their intirmities and sins, so much the more they 
hf unto Christ, the throne of grace ; and more heartily 
crave his aid and succour^ to wit, that he will cover 
tbem with his righteousness, that lie will increase tlieir 
faith, that he will endue them with his Holy Spirit, by 
irhose gracious leading and gui(hng they may overcf^me 
tiie lusts of the flesh, that they may rule and reign not 
over them, but may be subject unto them. Thus true 
Christians do continually/ wrestle with sin, and yet not- 
^withstanding in wrestling, they are not overcome, but 
obtmiii the victory. 

Thii have I said that ye may understand, not by 

men's dreams, but l)y the word of Gotl, who be true 

saints indeed. We see then how greatly Christian di>c- 

trioe helpeth to the raising up and comforting of weak 

consciences, which treateth not of cowls, shavings, shcLir- 

top, fraternities^ and such like toys ; but of high and 

W|^ty matters, as how we may overcome the tlesh, i^in, 

baidd], and the devil. This doctrine as it is unknown to 

jtiiticiaries, and such as trust in their own works, so it 

is impossible for them to instruct, or bring into the right 

avt one poor conscience wandering, and going astraVj 

to pacify, and comfort the same when it is in heavi- 

tcrror, or desperation. 


PSALM cxviii, 21, 

t thank thee, O Lord, that thou hiimblcM me; and 
(igain^ becomesi my miration. 

These are the sacrifices, this is the worship which are 
•ftied op by the righteous, or Christians^ in the New 

z 2 


Testament, or the gate of the Lord. — They give thanks 
tinto God, and they celebrate and praise him by preach- 
ing, by teathing, by singing, and by confessing. And 
these sacrifices are twofold. The one is, when We are 
humbled : concerning which David thus speaks, Ps. U. 
" The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken 
and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." 

This is the great, full, perpetual, daily, and eternal 
sacrifice. — When .God, by his word, reproves us in all 
our works ; when he rejetts^our holiness, our righteous- 
ness, our wisdom, and our strength, and pronounces 
them to be nothing, that we may be compelled to 
acknowledge ourselves to be sinners and guilty; when 
he brings home to us that word of his law, Rom. iii.; 
and when he not only reproves us by teaching, but ter- 
rifies our consciences and exercises us with tribulations 
of every kind, that we may be thoroughly cleansed, 
purged, and humbled, according to the old Adam which 
is under sin, until our confidence, pride, satisfaction, and 
hopes in our own works, and our own industry and wis- 
dom, be wholly mortified. Which work, is indeed begun 
now, but will be perfected at the end of our life. He 
who can bear and endure this ; who can continue and 
persevere therein ; and who can celebrate and give 
thanks unto God for the same, firmly persuaded tfiat 
God' sends all these things upon him, and works them 
in him, with a favouring and paternal will, and with a 
special goodness towards him ; — such an one, can truly 
sing this verse, " I confess," or, " I thank thee, O 
Lord, that thou humblest me." The Psalmist does not 
say. The devil humbleth and afFecteth me ; but, " Thou, 
THOU (saith he) humbleth me." This is thy good, mer- 
ciful, and paternal will ; — that I may be humbled ; and 
that, to my greatest good and blessedness ; for, without 
thy will, Satan could have no power against me. 

The other sacrifice is, w hen God afterwards comforts 
us, delivers us, and returns unto us, and comes as near 
unto our Spirit and new man, ^s he departs in distance 
from our flesh and old man ; when he bestows upon us, 
in return, greater and fuller blessings, and gives us sure 


victory over our enemies, that we may be joyful before 
him and in him ; as he saith» Psalm !., *' Call upon mQ 
in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou 
>liftlt glorify me. Sacrifice unto the Lord the sacrifice of 
thanksgiving/' &c. He that does this, sings this verse, 
•* I thank thee, O Lord, because thou becomest my 
salvation; because thou hast holpen me with present 
help, and hast condescended to be my Saviour. 

Tliis also is a great, a daily, a perpetual, and an 
eternal, sacrifice of the godly, or the righteous, in the 
gate of the Lord, And this very sacrifice rejects and 
abolishes all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which 
»ere types and figures of this sacrifice of praise* More- 
over, the sacrifices of the Old Testament could be 
ofiered up as w*eil by the ungodly, and hypocrites, as by 
tketrue saints. But these sacrifices of praise none can 
offer up and perform, but the godly and the righteous, 
or Christians. And this also experience has proved. For 
it is sufficiently evident, how the Jews raged in the 
itDes of the apostles, and what cruelties they exercised 
on this very account; — because their own righteousness 
was condemned. As, in these times, our justiciaries 
abo, who promise to themselves and others salvation 
ttpOQ the ground of the merit of works, exercise a brutal 
tranny, because their works and wii^dom are rejected. 
They are unwilling to be humbled. Instead of offering 
the sacrifice of praise, they insult the godly, load them 
irilh abuses, persecute them, and murder thein ; and 
think, that this their cruelty and tyranny is a sacrifice 
and worship the most acceptable to (Jod, John xvi. 

The man, therefore, who is filled with joy sings this 
^"erse in exultation and gladness, with these feelings ; O 
Lord God, art not thou a wonderful and lovely God, 
who thus wonderfully, lovingly, and paternally tlefendest, 
Mivernest, and guardest us ! Thou exaltest wtien thou 
Pknible^t us: thou makest us righteous, when thou 
I sbewest us we are sinners: thou raisest us up to heaven, 
r wbeti thou caftest us down to hell : thou gives t us the 
victory, when thou permittest us to be overcome : thou 
cheerest lis and makest our cup to mn over with joy» 



when we are under lamentation : thou strengthenest and 
confirmest us, when we are under suffering : thou makest 
us to dance and sing, when we are in tears: thou , 
Biakest us wise, when thou makest us fools : thou makest 
us rich, when thou costest us into poverty : thou makest 
us kings, when thou makest us submit to be servants I — 
These and numberless other miracles are comprehended 
in this verse, and celebrated by the church in these few 
words : " I thank thee, O Lord, because thou humblest 
me ; and again becomest my salvation ! " 


PSALM cxviii. 17. 

/ shall not die but live^ and declare the works of 
the Lord. 

This seventeenth verse of the Psalm, " I shall not 
die but hve," &c. confesses and sets forth the danger 
from which *' the right hand of the Lord" deHvereth 
the saints; that is, from death. The saints feel death 
in truth when they are under the perils of death. Nor is 
it a sweet taste nor a pleasant draught to the flesh, 
M'hen death is before their eyes and seems immediately 
coming upon them. Nor does death come alone, but is 
accompanied with sin and the law. It always brings 
these with it. Hence, it is quite plain, that the saints 
must be martyrs, or subjects of affliction : for they are 
compelled to be amidst perils of death, and to struggle 
with and tight against death. And this does not take 
place from tyrants and the ungodly by tire, by sword, 
by prisons, and the like instruments of persecution ; but 
it is \\rought in various ways by Satan himself For 
Satan hates the word of God utterly; and therefore, 
cannot bear even one of those who love and teach the 
word. He attacks them in every way, and leaves no as- 
sault upon them untried either in life or in death. In 
life, he etiects it by great and heavy temptations of their 
faitli, their hope, and their love to God. By these 
various kinds and powers of temptations^ he can so 


hedge in, assault, shake, and terrify the godly heart, and 
hurry it into such straits of doubt and desperation, as 
to make it dread God, grow wrath with him, and some- 
times blaspheme him : and he can bring the w retched con- 
science into such a state, as to make God, Satan, death, 
sin, hell, and all creatures, appear to it ail alike, all 
eternal, and all its avowed enemies. Nor did either the 
Turk or Csesar ever besiege any town with such impe- 
tuosity, such violence, and such fury, as that with which 
Satan sometimes comes upon the consciences of those 
who fear God. 

Satan can also do this in the hour of death, if God 

permit him, when the godly lie down on the bed of 

danger, and have no hope of life. At such a time, he is 

a wonderful adept at increasing and exaggerating sins, 

and setting forth and threatening the wrath of (Jo(f. He 

is a spirit industrious and powerful to a wonder : mIio, 

by taking advantage of some little sin, can raise an awful 

distress in the hearts of the godly, and set before them a 

very bell. For it is most true and most certain, that no 

one man ever tndy saw his principal and greatest sins, 

such as, unl)elief, contempt of Go<l, his not fearing him, 

lus not believing him, his not loving him as he t)Ui:ht, 

and such like sins of the heart. (For the greatest of all 

sins are those that lie in the heart.) Nor could any man 

folly see these without the greatest |>eril. And I know 

not whether there be any faith upon the earth, \Uuch 

would be able to stand before the siirht of tlicsf% and 

not fall and despair. 

And therefore it is, that Ciod permits Satan to tempt 
thee upon those external and actual sins f)nly. Fven 
here, he can raise up in tlames, and set before thee, hell 
and damnation in a moment, on such accounts as these : — 
because, perhaps, thou hast once or twice drank more 
than thou shouldest : or because thou hast lain in bed 
too long. — For these things and the like, he can so tempt 
fliee, tlmt, from distress ot conscience and wretchedness, 
thou mayest bring a disease upon thy body ; and, from 
towUe of heart, bring thyself even into the perils 
«f death. 


And what is still worse, and more perilous, even the 
very* best of thy works become instruments of tempta- 
tion in the hands of Satan. For he can so detract from 
them, make nothing of them, deface them, and condemn 
them, and so exercise and torture thy conscience with 
them, that all thy sins put together could not cause 
thee so much trouble, and render thee so distressed, as 
do these thy best works, which yet are truly good 
works. Nay, thou wilt be made to wish that thou hadst 
wrought real and foul sins, instead of doing those good 
works. And what the devil aims at in this, is, to make 
thee cast away those works, as if God had not wrought 
them in thee ; or, as if they were not done by the grace 
and help of God ; that thus, thou mightest blaspheme 
God. And then, death is close by thy side; nay, hell 

But who can enumerate all the arts, devices, and 
traps of Satan, whereby he can paint out, present, and 
set before our eyes sin, death, and hell ? This is his very 
trade and work, and he has now practised it for more 
than 5000 years, and can prove himself to be a consum- 
mate proficient in that art. He knows it too well, and 
too perfectly ; for he has been during so many years the 
prince and author of death. He has practised this art 
from the very beginning of the world ; so that he now 
well knows how to prepare and present to a terrified 
conscience, a well-timed draught of death. The prophets^ 
and especially David, knew that, and deeply exj>erienced 
it. For they so complain, teach, and speak of those 
temptations, that they by no means obscurely show, that 
they most deeply and very frequently conflicted with 
them ; while they cry out at one time concerning the 
gates of death, at another concerning hell, at another 
concerning the wrath of God. 

Nevertheless, how, and at what time soever this 
may happen unto us, we here find, that the saints must 
contend with Satan and fight with death ; whether oc- 
casion for this fight be given by a persecutor, or by a 
pestilence, or any other diseases or perils of life. But in 
these contest?, these strugglings, and these fights, nothing 


is better, nothing more wise, no way more quick or 
more effectual to obtain the victory, than for the person 
to learn to sing tliis song of the saints ; to deny himself, 
and to lay hold of, cleave to, and rest on, the " right 
hand of the Lord/' By this stratagem, Satan is de- 
ceived and his attempt is frustrated. And nothing can 
g^U him so much, as when he loses all his labour and 
pains, and finds that, ' instead of grasping an ear, he 
has got nothing but chafi*.' And this victory is effected 
by this means, and in this way ;— * when I am willing to 
be nothing; when I take nothing on myself; when I 
depend upon no strength or help of my own, or of any 
other creature, but flee to the Lord (Jod, and make him 
iny strength and my courage ; and when I trust to his 
grace and power. When I do this, then I am truly stript 
€){ myself and of all that I can call mine ; and can say, 
why temptest thou me, Satan ? What dost thou want to 
do ? Dost thou want to blacken and reprove my good 
works and my righteousness l)efore (iod ? If thou dost, 
tliou dost nothing but vainly spill water upon the 
ground : for I have no righteousness of my own. My 
strength is not mine. The Lord is my strength, my 
fortitude, and my victory. I Icre I come here ! pluck 
the hairs out of the palm of my hand, and take the 
money out of my empty purse? And, if thou wantest 
to accuse me of my sins, in this again thon labourest in 
▼ain. I have no sins. In this also the Lord is my 
t ' strength. Accuse that as long as thou wilt, until thou 
tft tired and hast had enough of it. I will not know any 
sin nor any holiness in myself. I will know nothing, 
nothing, I say, but the strength of (iod in me ! 

He who can thus deny, put oft', make nothing of, 
and be ignorant of himself; who can thus mock and 
spit in the face of Satan, and deceive him with an empty 
parse; he can, truly, well and safely take care of him- 
self. He need fear no danger, who can thus mock and 
insult the devil ; as a certain householder once did, who 
was in extreme necessity, and poorer than a C(xlrus or an 
Ims, and who laus|hed at and jeered a thief that he 
once caog^ in his house ; saying, 'Ah poor miserable 


fool, what wantest thou here? Dost thou expect to 
find any thing here in the dead of the dark night? If 
thou dost, thy hopes will \)e aJl deceived ; for I cannot 
see or find any thing here in the broad day-light.'— And 
what is the use of Satan's trying and tempting, where 
he finds a soul so brought to nothing in itself, that it is 
not able to give him any answer as to either its sins, or 
its holiness ? In viain he tries all his arts ; in vain he 
multiplies and exaggerates its sins ; in vain he defaces 
its good works ; when it betakes itself in this way, to 
the " right hand of the Lord." He dares not assault, 
run upon, and tempt that " right hand : " so far is it 
from possibility that he should prevail algainst it. 

But if thou leave this song, and depart from it, and 
Satan catch thee in thy sins or in thy good works ; if 
thou enter into a dispute with him, and descend to con- 
tend with him ; if thou wait to hear him, and desire to 
see what he will bring against thee ; he will so treat 
thee, so exercise thee, so agitate, torment, and crucify 
thee according to his own will and lust, that thou wilt 
not know where thou art; thou wilt forget the right 
hand of the Lord, and wilt thus lose all things. 

But, as we have heard, here is the labour, here the 
exercise, here the skill, — to be able to deny one's self. 
This cannot be learnt so easily or so quickly : for in the 
attainment unto this knowledge, we must spend the 
whole of our lives, as all the saints have done before us, 
and as all must do who are now living, and who shall 
come after us. For as we still feel sins, so must we stiU 
feel death. And as we must fight to be delivered from 
sins, and that we may cleave close to the right hand of 
God which his Word sets forth unto us ; so must we 
fight and contend with death and with Satan, the prince 
or potentate of death, until we get into perfect liberty. 
For see, and observe, how this verse sets forth and 
describes that battle and that contest. Satan, or some 
persecutor, threatens death to the saints. But what 
do the saints.^ They turn away their eyes, yea them- 
selves altogether, from the sight of death ; they put off 
themselves entirely, make themselves nothing, and lay 


hold of the right hand of (iod and cleave to it ; and say, 
''I shall not die/' as thou Satan, or thou tyrant threatenest 
me with death, and declarest and tdinkest that I shall 
die. Thou liest, I say ; " I shall not die but live." But 
I do not speak of my oun, or of human works. I will 
know nothing now of myself, or of my holiness, but of 
the works of God. They are what I now look to. It is 
them that I have now before me. I speak of them. I 
boast of them. I declare them. I place nnd rest all my 
confidence in them. It is (icxl viho delivers me from 
sins and from death. If thou canst overthrow these 
works, and this right hand, then thou wilt overthrow 
me ! 

Thus, this verse comprehends those two things con- 
tained in the sixth and seventh verses : — consolation 
and salvation: or, that help which (rod bringeUi to the 
godly and the righteous. And here, you see how it is 
that the right hand of G(Kt unimate^^, raises up, and 
establishes their hearts; and so pdwertully comforts 
them in the midst of death, that they can say, Though I 
die, yet I do not die. Though I sulfer, yet I do not 
sutler. Though I fall, yet 1 do not utterly fall, 1 do not 
pve up, I do not perish. Though I am confused and 
loaded with ignominy, yet I am not confused and loaded 
with ignominy. — Here is the consolation ! 

Moreover, he speaks of the salvation thus : — " but I 
shall live." And is not this salvation and this help won*- 
derfal? — When dying, he lives ! When sutVering, he re- 
joices! When falling, he rises up ! When loaded with 
the greatest ignominy, he enjoys the highest glory and 
honour! So Christ also saith, John xi. *' He that be- 
bereth in me shall never die,'' And, '* Though he were 
dead, yet shall he live.'' So also speaketh the apostle 
Paul, 2 Cor. iv. " We are troubled on every side, bat 
not distressed : persecuted, but not forsaken : cast down, 
but not destroyed." These words cannot be understood 
by a natural and carnal heart. 

Here then you see, that this consolation and salva- 
tion are life eternal, which is the true and eternal 
of God: and this the whole Psahn inliiiiatef. 


For as the Psalmist distinctively separates the company 
of those who fear God, from those three classes of men ; 
wd as he ascribes to those three classes of men, all 
things which are in this life upon earth ; that is, to the 
first, political administration, or earthly rule; to the 
second,, administration in spiritual things or ecclesiiteti- 
cal rule ; to the third, the use and enjoyment of all 
creatures and all good things ; it of necessity follows, 
that, that blessing, namely, another life, that is, eternal 
life, is given to the remaining small company of those 
that fear God. And seeing that those three classes or kinds 
of men envy this small company the blessings and enjoy- 
ments of this life, and tear them from them ; it is neces- 
sary, that this their consolation be eternal consolation, 
and that this their salvation be eternal salvation. And 
what else can it be but eternal salvation, when they can 
boast of, and glory in, the Lord himself, above and be- 
yond all those good things of princes and of men, in 
which those others abound ? For the Lord is an eternal 
good ! 

And any one can easily collect, determine, and 
prove within himself, that where the heart feels that it 
has God favourable to it, there must be remission of 
sins. And if sins be taken away, then death is takai 
away. And where this is the case, there must be a con- 
solation, and a persuasion of eternal righteousness and 
eternal life. This is a certainty of all certainties ! 

We must therefore observe in this verse, a singular 
skill ; where the Psalmist so intrepidly, and so power- 
fully, drives away and removes death from his eyes, 
where he will not allow himself to know any thing of 
sins or of death, and where he so diligently sets and hxes 
life before his eyes, that he will know nothing whatever 
but life. And he who lives for ever, never sees death ; 
as Christ saith, John iii. " He that heareth my word, 
shall never see death." 

Thus he throws himself entirely into the ocean of- 
life, that death may be wholly swallowed up of life, and 
may utterly disappear. And this takes place, from his 
cleaving unto the '^ right hand" of God with a. steady 


faith. Thus it is that all the saiots have sung this verse, 
and tlius it is that all the saints ought to sing it down to 
the Ia.1t day. But we see this more particularly in the 
boly martyrs. Here, before the ^vorkl, they seem to ex- 
pire and die : but yet, their heart with a firm faith says, 
1 shall not die but live/' Whenever therefore the 
lints, either in the Psalms or in any other part of the 
scripture, call upon God ; whenever they (>ray for con- 
solalioQ and help ; the things their hearts are upon, are, 
eternal life, and the resurrection from the dead. All those 
petttioDS and scriptures have reference to the resurrec- 
tion from the dead, and to eternal life ; yea, to the 
wiiole of the third part of the Creed concerning the 
Holy Spirit, the holy Cathohc Church, the remission of 
sins, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal life. 
This must l>e diligently observetL And all these things 
flow from those words of the commandment, '' I am the 
LiOrd thy God : ' these few words, comprehend most 
ftiUy tliut thirti part of tlie Creed. For when the saints 
complain that they die and are afflicted, in this life ; and 
when they console themselves with the hope, not of this, 
but ni another life, yea, with tlie hope of God himself 
wbo is above and beyond this life; it is impossible that 
tiiey can die, or not enjoy eternal life ; and that, not 
^ cmly because God, to whom they cleave, and in whom 
ibey place all their liope and expectation, cannot die, and 
because they must therefore live in and through him; but 
becttose, God cannot be the (lod of those who are dead 
or who are nolhiug, but must be the God of the living,' 
^ Christ saith ; and therefore, they must live for ever. 
For, if God did not live for ever, he could not be the 
true God and their God, nor could they cleave unto 
him* Hence death is not death to the saints, but a 

And if this be true ; if they live in God ; then this, 
of necessity, also follows ; — that they have remission of 
sbs. Ami if their sins be forgiven tliem, then it is cer- 
tain they have the Holy Ghost whereby they are sancti- 
fied. And if they be sanctified, or saints, then they are 
the true and holy church, and that " little flock " of 

350 , . 

Christ wfaicfaehatt overcome ^^pomfeti difUbm/^im 
again, and live for' ever. Behold ! thbse are' llin')ii^ii1_ 
and glorious works of the" right hand of" die Lord ! *^ 
And what, I pray you, are all the works of men and po-«^ 
tentates, in which the whole world trasts, compare^;] 
with these ! They are " spiders webs," as Isai^ saidt' • 
which cannot be made garments, nor any thing dl^i^ 
wherewith a man miiy cover himself; and which aie o/ 
no other use, than to catch wandering and foolish fliet 
and snats, that is, vain spirits and souls, that they maj 
perish in eternal death ! 

Moreover, the saints not only live in the life fo 
come, but also begin to live here by faith. For wfaeie- 
soever there is faith, there eternal life is b^un. And 
the passages of scripture concerning faith, have reference 
to all those articles above-mention^. For in those fint 
three classes, there is no need of faith, as to this presnt 
life, because the ungodly enjoy this life to the full. Nor 
can faith cleave to, and rest bn, any thing that is of 
moment or value in this life ; for it always goes fer& 
and mounts higher, and cleaves to that which is above 
and beyond this life, even to God himself. 

And that the saints enter upon eternal life in tUi 
life, and live even in death, is taught also by this ventf ; 
where it says, '^ and I shall declare the works of the 
Lord : " for he who shall declare the works of the Loid 
must be alive. But the spirit and blood of the dead A 
celebrate the works of the Lord, and proclaim then. 
Thus the blood of Abel ''cried out" against Gain, Gretf. iv;. 
And, Heb. xi. we read that Abel, '' being deieul, jA 
speaketh." But this verse greatly offends tyrants, iM 
than any other in the scriptures; — ^that those, whom tblf 
suppose to be dead, silent, and altogether foigotMli^ 
should now more than ever begin to live and to spadL 
And indeed they say the truth, when they say, thai it is 
not safe to mock and trifle with the saints, if, wheaAqf 
are dead they then more immediately enter upen, 
execute, and promote that, for the doing of whidk they 
were killed out of the way, and never cease.; and, < 
pecially, seeing that they cannot be killed or have their \ 


mouths Slopped again, bnt will declare the works of the 
Lord to all eternity ! 

The Pope burnt John Muss, and many other saints 
and excellent men ; and lately also Leonard Keiser, and 
a great many more men who truly feared God. Hut, I 
pray you, what advantage did he procure to himself by 
so doing? His endeavours were of great service to him, 
indeed ! and he stop|)ed their mouths to great effect ! 
For does not their blood now cry out against the Pope, 
vitliout cessation? And has it not hitherto so effectually 
cried out, that the Po|)e has lost nearly all his power, 
and is compelletl to become a beggar, and to implore 
tbe help of others, even the assistance of kings and 
princes, over whom, Ijefore, he held such .Tbsolute sway 
that he actually trampled them un<ler his feet? And had 
not those kings, princes, and potentattN, come to his 
help, and propped up his tottering kingdom, that poor 
miserable beggar would long ago have been a prey to 
the worms. But however, that he begged for help and 
wretched assistance, will little profit him after all. For, 
at length, he shall be deserted l)y all, and shall be com- 
pelled to acknowledge John IIuss his concpieror, and 
himself conquered by him ! 

VERSE 18. 

77ie Lord hath chastened me sore, hut he hath not 
given me over unto death. 

In this 18th verse of this triumphal song, the 

Psalmist displays a wonderful skill : that is, a rhetorical 

coafutation, humiliation, and interpretation. '* The 

Lord hatli chastened me sore, (saith lie) but he hath not 

men me over unto death.*' What is the meaning of 

iib? He glories that he '^ shall not die but live.'' But 

tbe flesh, ^e world, men, and piinces declare the con- 

tiary : and their clamours confuse and torture tlie godly 

ma's heart, and try to break his spirit and to drive him 

to despair. Aha, say they, is this your living, when you 

tie biurnt, when your head is taken off,' when yon are 

1, murdered, condemned, and exterminated ? If 


you have uuy senses at all, you now fed whether bein;; 
in this state be living or not ! Where is now thy God r 
Let your Elias save you now if he will have you ! — let 
him come and save you now ! 

A<3;ainst these bitter taunts of the ungodly he encou- 
rages his mind, and suffers not himself to be weakened 
and moved from his holy purpose, but consoles himself 
thus. — Let me die as much as I may, yet that death is . 
nothing. It is only my Father's rod. It is not his wTath, 
but (as the Germans say) * a fox's brush : ' that is, a 
gentle chastisement which causes no pain. It is no proof 
of severity or of anger. The Lord does not by it declare 
any thing severe or cruel. But he chastises me in this 
manner, as a father chasteneth his son w hom he loveth. 
This death is not indeed sweet or pleasant to the flesh, 
but bitter. It does not taste of honey, but of gall. It is 
I know a rod : but which, so far from bringing me into 
real death, translates me into real and eternal lif(e ! 

And is there not here a wonderful interpreter, and a 
firm confuter of objections ? Is it not a wonderful turn 
and blessed interpretation, to make of the word, deaths a 
saving and life-giving rod ? No one can teach this skill, 
but the Holy Spirit and the right hand of God. For no 
one can describe how the flesh is thrown into perturba- 
tion, tortureil, distressed, and grieved ; when, to these 
corporal uiurderings, pains, and dire afllictions, there are 
added insults, jeers, taunts, scoflSngs, and abuses ; and 
when the wicked, by wagging their heads, and by viru- 
lent abuse, agitate and revile die saints, as the Jews 
did Christ when he hung upon the cross. — Flesh and 
blood will do just the contrary. They will judge the 
rod, which is wholesome and beneficial, to be death and 
hell. They fall immediately into unbelief, and go into 
desperation, even when left to want a loaf of bread 
only. But this is not a right and spiritual interpretation. 
The far greater and more glorious skill is, to be enabled, 
when the devil, while death, not a common but a dread- 
ful and most horrid death, is before the eyes, irritates 
and galls the heart of the godly with such taunts and 
jeers as those with which he tortured Job and number* 


less other saints ; then, I savi the far greater and more 
glmious skill is, to be enabled to sing tliis verse, ''I 
shall not die but live ! " " He will not give me over 
into death ! " For Satan can render death horribly 
bittier, fearful, and dreadful to the godly heart. Ikcause, 
vlien he tempts, he does not say, as man would say, 
Hioa shalt t>e cast into the fire : Thou slialt be drowned 
m the water : Thou shalt have thy head taken otV, &c. : 
iwt he exaggerates and augments all things to the 
createst degree : he terrifies the godly with the ^ight of 
Seath : he paints it forth as being horrible, terrible, 
cruel, eternal, and having no end : and he exagucrates, 
«t the same time, the wrath and indignation of (rod 
above measure : and, by horrid mancruvres, impresses 
it upon the heart. Thus, he butcher^ the mun, torturing 
him, and overwhelmin'i him with those cruel cogitations 
lo horribly, bitterly, and incredibly, that such tempta- 
tions cannot l)e overcome or lendured by any human 
powers whatever. 

Here the man must be a good interpreter, wlio may 
be able to <ing this verj^e. and by it overcome and beat 
off Satan, and say. Death is not, no, it is not, a proof of 
an angr\' mind, but a discipline of mercy and a fatherly 
chastisement. I am surely persuaded, that my Ciod will 
not give nie over unto death. N\>r v/ill I ever believe, or 
ever allow my?elf to be pcrsuadetl, that he is angry with 
me, even if all the devil'^ in h<H should get around me 
Ic^ether, and declare it with the loudest bawlin^s : nay, 
if even an angel from heaven should tell me so, I would 
say "let him be accursed:" farther, if Ciod himself 
should tell me so, yet would I firmly l>elieve, that I was 
only tried by him in the same manner as he tried Abra- 
ham ; and that he only made and appeared as though 
he were somewhat angry, but that, in truth and in deed, 
he was not angry with me. For (lod never recals or 
titers his word, but commands me to be persuaded in 
myself, and to say, " The Lord chastenetli me, but he 
doth not given me over unto death." I will not suflbr this 
to be taken from me, nor will be persuaded, or suffer my 
to be interpreted otherwise. This I will (irmly be- 
2 A 


lieve : this I will keep fixed in my mind : not one sfaaQ 
pluck this from me. 

Thus the Psalmist, though he feels death, yet will 
not feel it ; nor will he suffer it to be called death ; but 
he lays hold of the right hand of the mercy of Grod, 
and cleaves unto it. He does not however deny that 
death is sent upon him of God, but there is a sweet and 
silent understanding between God and himself And that 
understanding between them is such, that death is not 
called death, nor is death, but that fatherly rod and dis- 
cipline by which the sons are chastised. All these are 
truly singular and wonderful words, which are not to be 
found in, nor indeed can enter into, the hearts either of 
men or of princes. So the apostle Paul saith, 1 Cor. ii. 
that he is speaking of wisdom " in secret " and " in a 
mystery : " which none of the princes of this world 
knew. — Thus have I spoken upon this glorious canticle 
and triumphal song of the saints ! 

I • . 

. ' -'^ , ^ 



Martin mutbet. 






Th^i drew near unto him all the publicans and 
unntrsfor to hear him. And the pharisees and scribes 
murmured ; sayings S^c. 

Ix this most sweet Gospel, is contained that doctrine 
which we boast of and glory in as our chief doctrine, 
and which deserves more especially to be called the 
Christian doctrine: namely, concerning grace and the 
remission of sins : which stands in opposition to the 
doctrine of the law and of works. And it is a consi- 
deration the most awful, that a sermon so blessed, and 
so fall of consolation and joy, should be heard with in- 
difference by the man who is hardened in sin, and 
despises the word of God. And still more awful is it, 
that this same sermon should be so learnt by all in a 
momenty that there should be no one who does not , 
think himself master of it ; and imagine, that there is 
nothing in it but what he knows perfectly well, and that 
therefore he needs waste no more study in learning it. 
Aithough it is no molestation to God himself, nor is he 
tired or wearied with dwelling upon it yearly, or rather, 
exercising it daily, as though he knew not how to preach 
any thing else, but was unacquainted with and ignorant 
of all otner things whatever. And yet, we poor, mi- 
serable, wretched creatures, so soon arrive at the hei^t 
of this knowledge, that we immediately become weaned 
cxf, and loathe the repetition : and thus, all appetite 
Wid love for the divine word die in us and are exr 


But however, before we explain the subject matter 
herein contained, I think we should do right to touch 
upon the beginning of this chapter; which St. Luke 
gives as a kind of introduction ; shewing, what it was 
diat occasioned these words to be spoken by our Saviour. 
He says, " Then drew near unto him all the publicans 
and sinners for to hear him." By which words he plainly 
shews, with what kind of ifien Christ was then con- 
versing ; namely, with those who lived openly as they 
ought not, and were publicly called sinners and un- 
godly. Hence, as it would appear, the pharisees had a 
very weighty reason for murmuring agjiinst Christ; who, 
while he wished to be considered a holy man, familiarly 
joined himself to such as these. 

At that time, those were called " publicans " to 
whom the Romans let out k certain city, ot revenue* of^ 
other charge, for a stated sum of money. In the^ame 
manner as th^ Turks or Venetians now commit atiy such 
district or charge to a certain person, frort *rhich Sd 
many pounds of revenue ate to be paid antiually ; and 
whatever such officer can, by uiyust leVles, extort over 
and above thai sum, he has for himself. In t\A^ tnannet it 
was that the above-meationed publicans proiieededj 
who so exacted that revenue and stated sum, ai^ to get 
out of it an immense gain for themselves. And urtefi 
the sum of money whicn was i6 bb'paid out itff that dis- 
trict or charge was great, the publicans, kho wcff6 Un- 
willing to lose their profit out of it, pradttsetl eVery kind 
of injustice in every form, and extorted from every one 
every where, and in every way. For their employers 
were so avaricious, and so sharp upon them, that thej 
could not have gotten much profit for themselves, had 
they acted with equity and justice, and pressed ho one 
by unjust exactions. Hence they were held in ill-^fiame 
by all parties, as being most unjust extortioners, and 
persons of very little honesty and integrity of life. 

In like manner the others, who were called " sinners'* 
in general, were such as lived shameless airid abandoned 
lives, and were sunk into every species of sin, — cbvfetoos- 
ness, debauchery, surfeiting, drunkenness, and such like. 


charucters tha 
Christ, and came on purpose to hear him, hm 
besid the fame of him,— that he was, both for his wc 
and his work^, wonderful and of great report. 

Now it is verj' evident, that there nas in tliese men^ 
tbcMigh desperate characters, " some good tiling/' and 
a certain spark of honesty, that they should have a de- 
sire after Christ, wish to hear his doctrine, and try to get 
a s^ght of the works wliich be did ; because they were 
/uUy persuaded beforehand that he was a good man» 
aiKi that they could not hear any ill-report concerning 
either his doctrine or his works; so that, Uieir life 
difiered very widely indeed from bis. And yet, they are 
so honest, that they feel no enmity against him, nor do 
they bate and ^hun his society, but they run to htm; 
aot w ith any evil design, but des^iring to bear and see 
aometbing gocxl from him, whereby they might amend 
their lives. 

Od the contrary, the scriljes and pharisces, w ho were 

ooQsidered to be most righteous and holy persons^ 

pfQved to be ^ch virulent beasts, that they were not 

Ofilv eoraged against Christ, and could not bear either 

li> bear or see him, but could not endure with patience 

that even miserable sinners should come unto him and 

hear him, in order that, being converted, they might 

Ff r^nt. Nay farther, they even murmured and accused 

>t for harbouring and receiving sinners ; saying, 

Ikikold I this is tliat holy and wonderful man ! Who 

wiU now say that he was sent of Goil, ulio thus asso* 

dam himself with abandoned and vile wretches ! Nay 

Imh ** a w inc-bibber and a glutton, (as they said upon 

aoolher occasion,) a friend of publicans and sinners ! ** 

Such a name is he compelled to bear by the holy 

rtsees; not because, being given to gluttony and sur- 

_ Im was accustomed boUi tti feasting and riotous 

%ure witit them ; but only, because he admitted such 

his familiarity^ and did not contemptuously spurn 

EI finom liim- For, according to their opinion, he 

ought to have been of a miserable appearance and clad 

to vile raiment, to have remained secluded from the so- 


ciety of men, and to have shunned all intefcoatse tiritb 
them, lest he should be contaminate by their presmee; 
as they themselves, after the manner of hcdy nwDi - 
always lived. Concerning whom Isaiah saith, tiuit they | 
studied purity so much, that they dreaded tbe toach k i 
a sinner, and always said, ^' stand by.** The same abo i 
is clearly seen in the pharisee, Luke vii. who nniniHired ; 
against Christ, because he openly allowed himsdf tobe i 
touched by a woman who was a sinner. And these vm I 
they who always wished to be his instructors, and to I 
prescribe to him rules for living and conducting himfleif * 
holily in this life. And therefore, they murmur upoo 
this occasion also, because he did not join himsdf ooto 
them ; and did not, after their example, keep himself akxrf 
from intercourse and conversation with such sinners. 

But here Christ is also a little pertinacious, and by 
no means obscurely declares, that he can sufier the mas- 
tery of none, but is altogether free and exempt from all 
laws whatever. So we see every where in the Gospds, 
he always does every thing at his own will and plea- 
sure : and yet, nevertheless, is the most mild, most 
gentle, and the most ready to serve of all men. Bat 
whenever they wished to interfere with him conceriiiDB 
laws, and to become his teachers, then all this kind 
friendship is at an end ; he starts back like a diam<md 
applied to, or struck against a whetstone; and says 
and does nothiiig, but the directly contrary to that 
which they require of him ; even though th^ may 
speak well and rightly, and produce, in confirmation (X 
wh&t they say, the very word of God. As they do here : 
where they come to him and say, * Thou ou^test to do 
thus and thus. Thou oughtest to seek the society of holy 
men. Thou oughtest to flee the company of sinners/ 
This indeed is a doctrine of some weight, and confirmed 
by the testimony of scripture. For Moses himself com- 
manded the Jews that they should avoid the ungodly, 
and put away evil from among them. With this text 
they corroborate what they say, and come forward with 
their Moses; wishing to make even Christ himself 
subject to their laws, and to rule him by them. 


Bat whether hanaan or divine laws be brought for^ 
ward, he will stand in his own liberty. And he is not al- 
together unlike the unicorn ; which beast, as they say, 
can never be taken alive, in what way soever he be 
iniDted. He will suffer himself to be pierced through, to 
be wounded with darts, and to be killed, but will never 
SQbmit to be taken. Just in the same way does Christ 
act; who, although he be attacked with laws, yet will 
not suffer them, but bursts through them as through 
a spider's web, and most severely rebukes his opposers. 
So also. Matt. xii. where they made it to lie a great 
crime in his disciples that they plucked the ears of com 
on the sabbath-day, citing the divine command, that 
the sabbath was to be kept holy, &r. he asserts the di- 
rectly contrary, does away the commandment, and af- 
firms that which is the opposite to the scriptures and 
their examples. So also. Matt. xvi. when he tells his 
disciples that he shall suffer and be cnicitied, and when 
Peter with a good intention admonishes him and sets 
before him the commandment of love, saving, " that l)e 
far from thee. Lord, this shall not Ix* unto thee," he, in 
reply, sharply and severely reproves and rebukes his 
adviser; and says, "(Jet thee l>ehin(l me, Satan, for 
thou savourest not the things that l)e of (Jod, hut those 
that be of men." 

In a word : He is most impatient of all laws con- 
cerning which they treat with him, and will Ik^ entirely 
free from all precepts, and be arroiiiited the Lord of 
diem all. He always answers in a manner that cuts 
Aem off at once, and will not hold any law as heinjr 
compelled to keep it. Hut on the other han<l, when he 
doesany thing freely, then, there is no law so small or so 
triOins, that he will not ohey willingly anil do much 
more than it requires. Therefore, there is no one 
to be found more kind or ready to serve than he, if he 
be bound by no mastery or compulsion. Nay, he 
humbles himself so low as even to wash and kiss the feet 
of Judas his betrayer, and himself covers his disci|)les 
for the night ; (as his history witnesses, and which is very 
probable^ and agreeable to the manner in which he 


speaks of himself, '^ I came not to be ministered unto, 
but to minister," &c.) Unto this indeed the works of the 
Ifiw are necessary^ but not such as are extorted by the 
law, or by means of the law. This is manifest to all who 
behold his life every where, as he went about in Judaea, 
in Samaria, and in Galilee, sleeping at night on the 
ground, fasting forty days, enjoying no quiet whatever, 
and enduring so many labours, that they feared lest he 
should destroy his mental faculties, or utterly wear out 
bis body. He does all he can, but refuses to be com- 
pelled, and will not suffer laws to be prescribed to him ; 
and if any one set them before him, he rqcoils and op- 
poses them most determinately. Thus he is of a spirit 
the most obstinate, yet the most meek : no one is more 
pertinacious or more devoted to serve than he : he will 
not endure the doing of any of those things which are 
exacted of him, and yet he does an abundance of all 
things, and, as it were, runs over with a flood of good 
works, and waters all things, while no one exacts or de- 
mands any thing of him by commandment or control, 
but he is permitted to do all willingly and of his own 

These things were done for examples unto us, that 
we might learn what a true Christian man, according to 
the Spirit is : and that we might not judge of him 
according to the law, nor deal with him according to the 
rule of our own prudence. For Christ is so our Lord, 
as that he makes of us men such as he is himself. And 
even as he cannot bear to be fettered and bound by any 
laws, but will be Lord over all laws, and so of all things; 
so also„ a Christian ought not to bear in his conscience 
any such thing. For we are, through Christ and his bap- 
tism, brought into such liberty, that our conscience 
knows nothing of any law, so as to suffer itself to be 
under its government and control. Nor are we to have 
any other feeling, as to the experience of our inward 
conscience, than as if there never were any law either 
given or made ; nay, as if there were neither Ten Com- 
mandments nor One Commandment ; finally, as if there 
werQ no law whatever either of God, of the Pope, or of 


the King; so that we may plainly say, ' I know nothing 

of any kiw whatever, nor do I want to know any.' For 

as to our state and experience as Christians, our own 

works and diose of all other men cease, and also all 

kws. Becaose, where there is no work, there can be no 

iaw requiring a work, and saying. Thou must do this : 

Hioo must not do that. Sec. ror we are, by baptism 

and the blood of Christ, free from all laws whatever, and 

r^iteous from mere grace and mercy. And this is our 

treasure, wherein we are Christians, and live and stand 

in the presence of God ! For as to the manner in 

which we ought to live, with respect to our outward 

conversation, (that is our flesh and blood,) l>efore the 

world, that has nothing whatever to do with this place. 

Wlierefore, the Christian must learn so to rule his 

conscience, as not to suffer it to be ensnared and led cap* 

tive \rr any law. But whoso shall attempt to hold and 

bind nim by any law whatever, let him boldly and 

iinnly resist, and let him do as he sees Christ did upon 

the present and other occasions; where he usis such 

pertinacity and morose severity, that no Mo;-es .tv legal 

exactor can do any thing with him ; although, in other 

respects, he is of all men the most humble, the most 

sweet, and the most tender. 

But however this is an experience above all the most 
high and sublime, which no one can hold fast, he ex- 
cepted, who was himself the teacher of it, and who 
knew how to put a stop to all laws and teachers of laws. 
We cannot arrive at this hii»h def^ree ; for the devil 
sports with our flesh and blood, as often as he am take 
a man in the trap of his own conscience, and drive him 
to the point of entering into a dispute with him about 
what he has done or has not done ; then, a disputinj» of 
that sort arises, in which there is a debate held concern- 
ing our sin and righteousness; and here, the man is 
drawn into the mire and clay of peril, where he slicks 
fiost and is not able to help or extricate himself, but is 
plcmged deeper and deeper. For now he is laden with a 
heavy load, more than he can bear; under which he 
goeo OD cogitating and foreboding, and gnawing and 


drinking up his spirit, unable to attain unto any i^t of 
mind. — This I sensibly feel in my own experience, 
when I cannot struggle out nor extricate myself by any 
labour, although I strive hard without ceasing, and turn 
every stone to emerge from this overwhelming flood, so 
as to be able to answer the demands of the law, apd 
cause it to be quiet, and say, Now thou hast done 
enough, and I am constrained to be content. But all these 
strivings and devoted endeavours, are in vain : for these 
floods and gulphs are of that kind, that no one can ever 
emerge from them, though he should call into his aid 
the help of all men : as all those can bear me witness, 
who have been brought to know these things by expe- 
rience, and who still experience them daily. 

The cause of this is our nature: which will ever 
have to do with works and laws, and will hear what they 
say, and follow those who say, " Why eateth he with 
publicans and sinners ? " If he would eat and drink with 
us, indeed, he would do right. And again, " Why do 
thy disciples pluck the ears of corn on the sabbath* 
day?" &c. And it will thus deal with the law until it 
shall say, Now thou art righteous. For it can attain to no 
higher understanding than that the doctrine of the law 
is the highest doctrine, and that righteousness the best 
kind of life before God. And in this opinion nature re- 
mains bound a perpetual captive; nor does it know 
how to deliver itself from this prison, not being able to 
pacify and stop the mouth of the law, so as to prevent 
its making any demand or alleging any accusation ; but 
it is compelled to remain captive under the law in a per- 
petual prison; and the more it struggles and contends 
with it, in the worse state it is ; and at last it is by it 
utterly vanquished. 

What, therefore, am I to do when the law attacks 
and presses upon my conscience, especially when I feel 
that I have not done what it requires ? I answer : That 
which Christ does here : who admits of, and acknow- 
ledges, no law, even though it be drawn from the law of 
God. Do thou also learn to do this, that thou mightest 
with confidence say to the law, ' Cease, O law, to contend 


with me, I have nothing at all to do with thee. And I 
will not bear thee for thi^s very reason : — because tliou 
oomest to dispute with, and to inquire of me how good 
and bow righteous I am. For it matters not at all what 
I am, what I ought to < ! ii^lit not to do, but %vhat 

Chribt himself is, what : , and what he has done. 

For we are now in the bridc-ciiamljer, where the bride- 
groom and the bride are entirely alone : thou hast no 
bosiness to enter there, nur to interftre wiOi one word/ 
Yet stiJl the law will continue to assail and say* ' Ne- 
vertheless thou must do good works, and keep the 
Ck>mmandment5, if thou wilt be ^^aved.' Here again 
answer : ' But thou art told there t& no room for tlMie 
to attack me m-— ng tliem; for 1 have gotten my 
ri^teousncssy £t^ nm of all my sidvation, without 

any of my own works, in Christ Jesus my Lord ; and I 
was saved long before thou ever earnest unto me ; there- 
fore I have no need of thy presence at all/ For, as I 
have said above, where works are of no avail, there net^ 
ther can the law be of any weight or moment ; and 
where there is no law there can be no sin. Therefore 
tlie spouse is to reign with Christ alone in the brido- 
chasnber, sdl others being shut out ; in whom she has 
all things in one treasure, and wants no ont; thing more 
as necessary unto salvation. Wherefore, die law, togp- 
tber with its trumpets and drums, is to Ix) excluded, to 
be spued out of the moudi, ami to \ye utterly cast away 
as afteo as it comes to invade and attack the conscience. 
For it has nothing to do there, nor does it come at all 
io season, %vhen it wishes to make a great bustle where 
it has no business to make any, nor even in the least to 
intrude itself. For here ve are upon this article which is 
cmlled * I believe in Jesus Clmst my l^ord, who suilered 
for me, died, and was buried,* &c.: in whom all laws, 
kingly, A^ - -r, and divine, ought to believe. Therefore 
I am I ) shun every thing that would dispute 

with me concerning sin, righteousness, or any such 

Behox^d this is the liberty that Christ would shadow 
forth to us in this place : — that, as Christians, we should 


suffer no master to rule in our conscience, most steadily 
cleaving to this one thing : — that we are* baptized, 
called unto Christ, and justified and sanctified diroisigh 
him : so that we can say, ^ Here is my righteousnesi^, here 
is my treasure, here are my works : in a word, here is n^ 
every thing to answer the sin and unrighteousness of 
which the law strives to accuse me. If uiou wilt have 
any other righteousness, works, law, or ^in, then thou 
mayest seek them where thou canst; thou certainly 
wilt not find them in me.' In this way a man may^ be 
able to defend himself, and to stand against the sugges- 
tions and temptations of the devil, either conceming 
sins past or sins present. 

Wherefore, Moses and Christ are to be kept far 
asunder; anu also works and faith; and conscience 
and outward life. So that, if the law will attack me imd 
press down my heart, then is the time for casting away 
the law ; and, if he will not go away, of thrusting hiln 
away by force; and saying, willingly will I 4o good 
works and promote them with all my power, as long as 
I live among men ; but here, in my conscience, I will 
not hear any thing whatever concerning them ; therefore 
in this let be alone, and do not want to pester me at all 
about them. For in this respect, I will not descend to 
hear either of Moses or of the pharisees ; but baptism, 
and Christ only, shall here have power to reign. And, 
.like Mary, my desire is to sit at his feet to hear his 
words. But let Martha remain without if she will, and 
busy herself about the things of the house and kitchen. 
And, in a word, I will not have my peace of conscience 

But do I not in the mean time sin daily, which cer- 
tainly is not righteous ? And how about this ? I answet* : 
It is true. I am a sinner, and do unrighteously ; but I 
am not therefore to' despair: much less am I to run 
away down into hell, or to be terrified by the severity ef 
the law. Because, I have still a righteousness and 
works far above, and able to stand against, Moses. I 
apprehend him who has apprehended me ; and I cleave 
Unto him who has embraced me in baptism, and put me 

iata Im boiom ; and who, by the proclamation of _ 
Gospel^ calls ma to partake of all the benefits there mm' 
m hJiDt cofDnmndiDg cue to lielieve m him. — VVheoM* 
ever I can feel out turn, tlien I commaDd the pbariieet 
iad Mos^^ with all tlieir tables, the lawyers with atf 
their books^ and all men with their works, to hold their 
tcogiies and depart. Here the law has no rigbl to acme 
or to act* For, in this Christ, I have an abundance of 
all things that can be required vi me.— This I say is the 
doctrine and skill of Christians ; pertaining, however, to 
that part only where Christ oaglu to rci^B;n. 

But here, thick-headed men have no undenatand- 
ids: pvestmuDg only to take unto themselve, from this^ 
a licence to live as they list ; sa\inj;» What need is there 
tben for me to do good works, seeing dmt Cbnst has 
dome away with the law, &c. ? But this their vain 
intfaig is not to be borne : for thou art also to look at 
Christ in the other point of view, and to observe what 
be does farther. For he here says himself, that he is a 
laaii who goet^i about seeking tlie mistnuble and lost 
ibecsp: of which, he givesi a full proof upon tlie present 
OQcasioD, by receiving publicans and sinners, and preach- 
ing onto them. And here you will see, that he thia aaae 
penon ckies much more tlian ever ttie law commanded ; 
md be teaches thee, by his own example, to do the 
aoae. He is of such arrogance that he will not be 
— irr the law, and y^t, spontaneously does more than 
ever the law demands. Do thou also likew*be ; and wait 
fiol untii the law shall impel and force thee, but» with- 
out the law, of thine own accord, do what thou oughtest 
to do; as Peter, 1 Epist. ii, admonishes, raying, **As 
tree and not using your liberty for a cloak of malicious- 
oeas, but as the servants of God.'' And Paul also, Horn. 
vi, ** Being then made iroe from sin, ye are become the 
fenrants of righteousness.'* — These are tliey who do all 
things witba^ee conscience, without the law, and with- 
GfQt compulsion ! 

For wherever the Gospel is in the heart, in truth, it 
maketh tlie man such, that he dtx^ not wait until the 
law come to him, but he is so full of gladness in Christ, 


that he is carried forth into good works ; and, without 
any unwillingness, but with spontaneous freedom, does 
good unto all with all his power, before ever the law 
comes into his mind. Nay, he spends his body and whole 
life to do it, not at all regarding what he has to suffer. 
He is so full of good works, that they flow, as it were, 
from a perpetual fountain, and water many. Thus 
Christ would not even pick up a straw by compulsion, 
but where there was no compulsion, he ofiers himself to 
be affixed to the cross for me, and for the whole world, 
and dies for the lost shee[). — These, if I mistake not, 
may be called works ! 

Wherefore, it is necessary to the utmost, to under- 
stand these things: — that, when matters come to the 
point and within gun-shot, as it were, when the law and 
sin enter into dispute with the conscience, then we are 
to take care to stop the mouth of the law boldly, and to 
command him to hold his peace, by thrusting him out of 
doors to dispute with our old man. He it is that is to be 
driven into the school of Moses, that he may dispute 
with him and say, * Dost thou hear me ? Thou art too 
sluggish in giving and in serving thy neighbour. When 
thou oughtest to be praising Christ, thou art more in- 
clined to drink a bottle of wine. And rather than expose 
thyself to perils for Christ, thou wouldst be employed 
in taking an unfair advantage of thy neighbour, and in 
robbing him as far as thou canst.' — Upon this sluggish ass, 
that is unwilling to labour, and would rather indulge in 
ease and carnal pleasure, thou art to use the '^ tables of 
stone;" by which thou mightest compel him, against 
his will and inclination, to go forward in his duty. 

Whenever therefore Moses may attack me, I am to 
say to him, (as far as is right and proper) I will willingly 
hear thee in order to follow thy precepts ; that is, as fer 
as respects my hands and external life, where thoa* 
mayest reign as a schoolmaster, or a master of a family. 
Thou hast moreover the power of commanding me to 
be obedient, modest, patient, kind to my neighbour, 
liberal and ready to serve the poor, to glorify GckI, and 
be spent in sounding his praises; and that I should 


expose myself to the contempt and reproach of all for his 
word's sake, and should suffer every kind of injury from 
tbe world. At all which things I am not greatly moved, 
being ready to do even more tlian I can do as to my 
outward man. " For the spirit (according to the testi- 
mony of Christ) is willing," yea, more than willing, 
tbbogh the flesh be weak. ITius, he suff'ers himself to 
be circumcised, to minister in the temple, to be scourged, 
to be crucified ; of which, nevertheless, he had no 
need, nor had the law any right to demand such things 
of hhn. 

But if thou, Moses, wilt advance any farther, and 
where it is unlawful for thee to come, that is, into my 
heart and conscience, there I w ill not look at thee, nor 
condescend to hear thee. For there, I have another trea- 
sure great and unspeakable, which is called, Christ, to- 
gether with his baptism. And, in a word, whatever per- 
tains to tbe restraining of the outward man, thou canst 
not with too much weight lay upon me; but thou must 
lay nothing upon my conscience. For wherever there is 
the Spirit bringing Christ unto us, he more than fulfils 
all laws : as Paul saith, ** The law was not made for a 
ri^teouft man : " who, nevertheless, fulfils it more than 
ever he could do in the tlesh. For, according to the law, 
we are all sinners ; and, as far as concerns our carnal 
person, we must remain under the law. But, through 
Christ and baptism, we are exalted far above the law. 

Wherefore, Moses mu^t enforce his heavy works 
oot of Christ, whereby he may com|>el those who are 
not vet Christians to l>e civilly moral before the world. 
Bat he cannot make Christians righteous and just. This, 
however, I will not deny, but he may do — he may 
shew unto men their duties: to which they will wil- 
fingfv assent, and will fulfil them, and will even do 
more : except that, the flesh will not so willingly, and 
with that alacrity which it ought, obey the spirit. On 
which account, they also are to he admonished and 
vrged ; their conscience, nevertheless, still remaining 
free, so that the law shall have no power to accuse 
Ihem. Wherefore, in Christianity, such kind of doctrine 

S B 


and admonition ought to be maintained, (which, it is 
certain the apostles also maintained,) whereby every one 
is to be admonished of his condition and his duty. But 
the rest who are not Christians, are to be ruled by the 
laws of Moses, and to be laden with them both extar- 
nally and internally ; in order that they may be so forced 
and pressed by them, as to be compelled to do what is 
right even against their wills. Of which kind of men aie 
that rash herd of the licentious multitude, and that in* 
corrigible vulgate, who regard not nor understand the 
Christian liberty, although they can boast of and piafte 
much about the Gospel, and yet only abuse it unto their 
own mind's lust ; let them, I say, know, that the disci- 
pline and rod of Aioses belongs to them. For such meA 
are not in a state to be able to receive this doctrine: 
because they are in that hardened security of mind, that 
they think they have no need of the Gospel, or that they 
know it well enough. Those only are in a state to receivt 
it, who are sunk into a disputing with their conscience^ 
the law, their sins, and the wrath of God : under a me- 
ditation on which things, they are afraid, feeling thev 
hearts to say within them, Alas ! Alas ! how destmo- 
tively have I spent my life ! What account shall I 
render unto God ! And thus, they become filled with 
fear and trembling : while the others, remain in an 
awful security, and presumption, and feel neither the 
law, nor sin, nor any necessity. And thus, each of these 
characters are miserably in the m rong. For those, who 
ought not to have any thing to do with the law, strugg^ 
the most with it, and are the only persons who feel iL . 
Whereas the other, by \^ honi alone the law ought to be ; 
felt, are in no way troubled with it : nay, the more tfaef ; 
are terrified by the law and divine wrath, the nKHeij 
hardened they become : and therefore, another maslqr ! 
must be called in to correct such as these, even the de^ { 
stroyer and the tormentor : who may teach them, thet 
as they will not do good as they ought for the Ixmi't 
sake, and through grace, they shall do what they oo^ 
not without the aid of any grace at all, and have for thdk 
reward hell and all its miseries. 


In coQtrartely to these, Christ, here and every where 

else, (as I have said) both by doctrine and example, 

teaches ns, who fed our sins and the burthen of the law, 

and who would wininglv be Christians, that we should 

accustom ourselves to nght against the law, and to force 

oorselves from ourselves unto another, that we give not 

place to the devil ; who wants, by means of the law, to 

bieak in upon the bride-chamber of Christ, and cast 

himself into his place ; that is, to take away the joy and 

coDsolation of die conscience, in order that he might 

draw away the man into desperation, so that he may 

not be able to lift up his heart and face unto God with 

^bdness. For this is the skill of Christians : and it is of 

the atmoat concern to them to learn and know more of 

tins than the profane and carnal vulgar know and under- 

Stamd, because they must be skilful in the way of fight* 

ing with the devil, and of ^vithstanding his attacks, as often 

as be comes upon them and would dispute with them- 

oat of Moses. For when he is trying these stratagems^ 

he is not to be disputed with in many words, but we 

mnst leave Moses and flee to Christ, and remain close 

to him. Because, what he aims at in all his stratagems 

and traps, is, to wrest us with subtlety away from 

Chrisi, and to drag us over to Moses. I'or he well 

knows^ that if he gain that point, the victory is in his 

own hands. 

WuEREFORK, thou must l)e on thy guard again and 
again, that he pull thee not away from that hg^tinff- 
ironnd, nor entice thee out of that ring. And althou^ 
be may set before thee many things out of the law, 
saying that it is the word of God, which thou oughtest to 
obey, thoa canst then answer him, and say, ' Do I not 
tall thee that I will now know and hear nothing of the 
law whatever? For we are now contending upon that 
gnmnd and in that ring, in which there is no inquiry 
about what I ouj^t to do or what to leave undone, but 
how I am to lay hold of a merciful and gracious God 
uid'tbe remission of sins. Here will I remain in the arms 
of Christ, so clinging round his neck that nothing shall 
tar me from him, md creeping under the cover df his 

S B S 


baptism, whatsoever the law may say or my heart may 
feel. And if I can but keep that principal part, my faith, 
pure, and this bulwark in safety, then will I do exter- 
nally, not internally, whatever burthen of works shall be 
laid upon me.' 

Behold ; he that could hold fast this skill would be 
a right and perfect man, as Christ was ; and would be 
so far exalted above all laws, that he might boldly call 
Peter Satan, and the pharisees fools and blind leaders ' 
of the blind ; he might impose silence on Moses him- 
self, and might thus live entirely without any law ; and • 
yet, in the mean time, be fulfilling all laws. Moreover, he 
might be obstinate and pertinacious against every thing j 
that should attempt to tie and bind him, aqd yet, spon- 
taneously accommodate himself, and be obedient to all. . 
But our whole deficiency lies here. — We never attain to ' 
this skill fully and perfectly, and the devil ever opposes 
our endeavours, and brings us into that state that we act 
with a perverted order of things ; — we are always over .^ 
obedient and submissively attentive to hear all things' 
that the law may say unto us ; by the threats of whicn, 
we are thrown into total confusion ; whereas, it would 
have been better not to listen to it at all. On the other 
hand, in external things, we take too great an advantage 
of our liberty ; when our body ought to be restrained 
and kept in subjection by works, in order that it might ' 
be compelled to bear whatever it is averse to ; seeing 
that, it still sinneth more or less ; but yet so that the sin 
remaineth without, when it ought to remain, and have itr *^ 
Moses, who may continually present to it his require- 'i 
ments. But internally, no sin or law ought to rule or. - 
reign, but Christ himself should hold his empire of free 
grace, joy, and consolation. Thus, all things would be* ;. 
in their right places, and the man would be ready and 
prepared to every good work both to do and to suffer ; 
and that, with a glad and willing heart, by faith, not 
feigned, in the grace of God through Christ. — Whe^e-^ -. 
fore, let the conscience rule over all laws, and the flesh 
be subject to all laws. 

And now, let him that is acquainted with this skill 


give thanks unto God, and see that he be not too wise 
ID the same, and fall not into a false persuasion of know- 
kdas. For I, and such as I am, are not vet acquainted 
wim it as we ought to be acquainted, although we have 
iisd very great experience of, and very long exercise in 
it For mis skill is, as I have said, of that nature, that 
Bone can know it but those who are Christians ; and 
they in order to attain unto it, must be learners all 
thttr lives. For as to those secure spirits, they alone pre- 
tend to know all things, and yet know nothing at all ; 
for by this these false persuasions, Ihey are removed the 
fiuthest of all men from the whole of the Gospel. And 
there can be no one thing a greater pest to, or a greater 
stumbling-block in the way of, Christianity, than these 
ape-teachers and masters, who, in their own eyes, ap- 
pear to know something. For these fill every comer of 
the world with sects and divisions ; being such churac- 
ten of men, who serve neither God nor man, and hear 
neither the law nor the Gospel rightly ; but securely con- 
temn the former, and hear the latter with disgust ; and 
are ever hunting, in the mean time, after some new doc- 
trine. But however, we teach nothing here on their ac- 
eoont, for they are not worthy of our doctrine ; and 
they have this punishment from God ; — that they never 
cui learn this same doctrine, nor derive any advantage 
from it, although they hear it. Thereforts let us hold it 
onong ourselves. They can take nothing of it from us, 
excepting that they may hear a certain external sound 
ifid echo of it. 

This then is the first part of this Sermon which 
Christ here teaches us by his own example. — In what 
Banner each one is to hold his conscience free from all 
'^ dtspatation with the law, and from all the terror of the 
. wrath of God and of sin. 

i Akd now, my design is to enter into this l)eautiful 

^ mod sweet sermon of Christ ; where he begins and says, 
,. " What man of you having an hundred shee|)» if he 
lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in 
t'- the wilderness, and go alter that which is lost until he 
' find it?" Christ is not only of a pertinacious mind in 


his refusing to follow their «ayii^;8 ttod o(Mitrol».bat aba 
adduces probable causes for his pertinacity ;.iiiii8» with 
great skill confuting their objections, and stopping liieir 
mouths, so that they have not a word to answer hinu 
Nay, he convicts and circumvents diem fay th«ir own 
example imd proceeding, that he might fiU them with 
deserved shame for daring to attack and reprove lum for 
doing that in a matter of the utmost moment, which 
they themselves do upon an occasion the most trifling. 

In what way oould he more promptly and more 
effectually answer diem, than by saying. Do yon want, O 
ye excellent and very wise teachers, to teach and 
command me to do this: — to drive and thmst from 
me those who desire me, and who come nnto me to 
hear my words? when you yourselves, having. lost one 
sheep, leave nothing undone, leaving the ninety and 
nine in the wilderness, (that is, in the plain within the 
fold,) and running here and there to seek that which is 
lost, never ceasing from your search until ye have :foand 
it and brou^t it back into the fold ? This your pto- 
ceeding you consider maritoricMis and laudable, .and if 
any one should blame you for it, you would doubtless 
call him a fool and a madman. And should not I:die 
Saviour of souk do the same unto men, as^ 
a lost sheep ? especially, when one aoul is, beyond all 
comparison, of more value than all the other creatnies . 
that live and breathe upon the earth put togeAer? 
Why therefore are ye not utterly ashamed of youraelMS,* 
for daring to reprove me for that act which yon yonr- 
selves praise, and are compelled to praise ? Whetefof^ 
if you would r^rove me, you must first rqprove and 
condemn yourselves. 

This is answering rightly, and stopping their bariqng 
mouths with honor ; abundant causes bSng prodooacC 
why he wanted not in any respect their -control, nor 
could by any means endure it. And diey, as became 
them, retreat with merited disgrace, and gain nothing by 
.their attempted mastery, but the deepest shame and ig* 
nominy. For it is a disgrace to all masters, and there- 
fore the greatest of all abominations, when they do not 


blush at arrogating so much to themselves, as to at- 
tempt to teach and admonish him of his duty, who is 
appointed of God master over all. 

But the matter ought to end as I have said. — That 
be who will presume to rule and mock a Christian with 
his attempted mastery, and to draw him away from bap- 
tism and the doctrine concerning Christ, in order to 
govern him by his wisdom or laws, shall not only be 
made a fool, but be considered the author of the 
greatest abomination, yea, of murder. For such an one 
pollutes the holy temple of God, and, with a devilish 
temerity, invades his kingdom, where he alone ouglit to 
reign, together with the Holy Ghost. Wlierefore, he 
hi^ly deserves to be covered, as his reward, with shame 
and ignominy before the whole world, who assumes to 
himself the mastery there, w here Christ only ought to be 
master ; and thus wantonly, and to his own destruction, 
** kicks against the pricks." 

Wherefore, it is by no means safe to run against 
Christians, for they are living stones and saints. And he 
who is wise, will have nothing to say against that man 
whose name is Christ ; for he w ill get no iioini hy it, he 
being most impatient of any kind of mastery or con- 
trollmg doctrine. So also, a Christian is hy no means to 
sofier the same; for if he do suffer it, and yield to sugges- 
tions of this kind. Thou oughtest to have done this thing 
or that : or. Thou oughtest to do it now : then it is all 
over with him; he has fallen from Christ ! Wherefore, 
we must ply all our care to hold him fast ; not at all re- 
garding if tne whole world teach us otherwise. For if we 
remain cleaving close unto him, and hold fast the true 
understanding of the doctrine concerning Christ, we 
flhall easily overcome all masters and teachers of this 
idnd. For this Christ will be entirely free from all cor- 
rection and control, and will shew himself to be the 
ooDtroller and corrector of all men ; — that, they shall 
cither, under grace, worship him as a Lord and Master, 
and shall be brought to acknowledge themselves fools ; 
or, they shall, under his fury and indignation, be exposed 
to flfaaioe before all men, and perish utterly! 


Hut, as I have said above, the present Semum, M 
account of the great goodness, sweetness, and conscda- 
tion, which it contains, is not to. be prostitiitBd to llie 
ignorant, carnal, unhumbled multitude : (for whom I am 
setting forth none of these things, so that they may 
know my mind plainly:) but to be opened up unto 
those who are conflicting with distress and trouble of 
conscience, or who are exercised under the pmls and 
certainty of death, and-disputing with the devil about 
their sins committed, whereby he is tiying to drive tliem 
to desperation. Before such, this lovely representation 
is to' be exhibited, that they may receive from it conso- 
lation and gladness of spirit. But as to the rest, who live 
in security of mind, and know nothing about what spi- 
ritual anxiety and sorrow is, they are to be led unto die 
tormentor Moses, and after that, unto the very devil. 
For the representation which we have here, is beyond 
measure most sweet and amiable, and painted fordi * 
more beautifully than any Apelles could delineate it 
with his pencil. Nor has any one a power of lanmage 
capable of setting it forth by expression: and tnere- 
fore, it^ can only be apprehended by the faith' of the 
heart, as far as we may be allowed t6 enter into it 
And yet, we must say something about it, that wp may 
open a door and a way for others to enter into it 
more deeply. 

I, saith the Saviour, have also an hundred sheep; 
that is, that little simple flock of all Christians, from the 
number of which, one is lost and is fallen out from the 
communion of Christians. Wilt thou then know the love 
of my heart? Then thou art to use all thy ability to set 
forth as aflectingly, and as^descriptively as thou canst, a 
SHEPHERD and a lost sheep. For the shepherd that is , 
only man, who takes care of his flock that is created only 
to be killed, has yet a most aflectionate inclination of 
mind towards his sheep, and is in no little anxie^ about 
the way in which he shall find, and bring it back, when 
lost ; nor has the sheep a less desire to find its shef^erd; 
for the moment it perceives the person to be its shepherd, 
(for it knows him by instinctive nature,) it is not aftaid 


o{ bim, but runs up to him with all confidence, and an*- 
tidpates bis perception filled with the assurance of hope. 
Nay, as soon as it hears his voice, it answers with 
Ueatiog, follows him directly, and never stops till it 
comes up to him. And there is by nature the utmost 
love and affection between them both, as though their 
heart and feelings were the same : so that, if the sheep 
could speak and disclose the secret workings of its 
heart, it would say, that it wanted nothing but its shep- 
herd. And on the other hand, the shepherd has the 
same regard and. concern; only thinking about the way 
in which he shall again find his sheep that has strayed 
from him. He hurries and sends forth his servants 
to search for it, wherever he has any idea it may have 
wandered : nor does he ever cease to seek for it, until 
be has found it and brought it back. For he well knows, 
what a miserable animal a lonely sheep is ; ttie preserva- 
tion of whose life depends solely upon the help and care 
of the shepherd; being such an animal, as can do 
iK)thing to help itself, -but must, if bereft of its shepherd, 
utteriy perish. Nay it is in every respect a poor fearful 
creature, and inclined to go astray; and as soon as 
ever it has wanderrcd out of the way and mist its 
shepherd, it is immediately in peril for its life, and can 
jest no where. And even though it wander near some 
other Hock, and a strange shepherd call it, yet it still 
goes on its way through thorns ami briers, through 
water and mire, until it meet with some wolf, or l)e swal- 
lowed up* by some other destruction, and [)erish. But 
still, it has all the while that excellency and natural in- 
stinct, that it always has a r(K)ted inclination towards its 
fibephen^ and knows his voice immediately; and where- 
eTer it may be when it hears it, it runs directly towards 
the sound, and will not sutler itself to be drawn or 
forced away, even if the whole world call and cry after 
it. And although it have wandered away into l)y-paths 
in the desert, and may be thought to be lost, yet it has 
still that secret hope which the instinct of nature has 
implanted, that if it can. but get to hear the voice of the 
shepherd, it leaps with joy, and loses every fear. Nor is 


it the shepherd's intention, when he draws near, to con- 
tend with it in anger, or to ilL-use it for strayin& or to 
expose it to the wolf to be destroyed ; but all ms care 
and concern is, that he may call and allure it to himsdf 
as kindly as possible, and might treat it in the most 
tender manner ; namely, by laying it upon his shooldaf^ 
and bringing it back to the rest of the flock. 

This is the picture presented to us under the 6gaie 
of this little creature and animal : wherein, Christ shews 
us what the aftection of his mind is towards as, what be 
will do for us, and what we may assure ourselves con- 
cerning him. For as it is evident that all this is true in 
nature, much more is it true in the kingdom of Christ) 
which is the kingdom of grace, love, and consolation. 
Wherefore, see that thou ever set before thee the she^ 
that belongs to the shepherd; then shalt thou expe- 
rience, in truth, both how much greater and more a^c- 
tionate regard he has for protecting it, and also, with 
what anxiety, diligence, and purpose of heart, he is 
concerned about it, that he might find it and bring it 
back. Wherefore, he would hereby set forth his free, 
wonderful, and inexhaustible love, and the unspeakable 
burnings of his ardent affection towards miserable, sinfiili 
fearful, and trembling consciences ; which are, his true 
lost sheep ! 

For the man who has lost this shepherd, -and cannot 
hear his voice, is in exactly the same condition as the lost 
sheep : for he wanders away more and more from him, 
and gets farther and farther off. And although he may 
be called by strange doctrines to run over to them^ 
among which he may expect to find his shepherd, yet he 
is deceived in his expectations and finds him not, but 
continues to run about into every comer, wandering up 
and down, and only finding himself farther and farther 
off. Nor does he ever find any help or consolation until 
he hear again the voice of his shepherd sounding in his 
ears. The truth of this we all learn by daily experience, 
and each one finds it exemplified in his own heart For 
if the Gospel concerning Christ be removed from us, or 
be not in exercise, then some false teacher, or the Imd 


of some sect, or perhaps some fenatic, introduces him- 
self: one penrerts the sacrament, another baptism : one 
teaches tlids, and another that, concerning a singular 
aancthy of life : each of whom, entices the poor mise- 
mhle wandering sheep over to himself, and would maice 
himsdf appear to be the true shepherd. But by all the 
endeavoors of such as these, the sheep is only distracted 
widi more complicated errors, until it be driven quite 
out of the way. With these joins in also the devil, with 
his cogitatioDS, which he injects into the heart Ah me ! 
if thou hadst but done so and so, or hadst not done so 
and so, &c. — By all which, nothing else is effected, but 
the driving the sheep into a deeper perplexity of error, 
mitil it knows not where to stand. — And thus it ever 
is. When Christ is removed out of sight, and the doc- 
trine concerning him extinguished, whatever else be 
tau^t or set forth, whatever other admonition be given, 
and in whatever way, all things only become the worse, 
and a{^roach the nearer unto destruction, unless the 
tme shepherd come with his voice, and call and bring 
back the wandering sheep. 

Wherefore it is of the verj' utmost importance tliat 
we learn to know Christ aright ; and that we consider 
him not to be a cruel tyrant or an angry judge who has 
drawn his sword against us ; (as certain preachers have 
hitherto set him forth to the people, and as the devil 
imnself has ever proposed him to \ye viewed and consi- 
dered by the human heart :) but look upon him just as 
a sheep naturally looks up)on its shepherd ; not as one 
bj whom it is to be frightened, driven about, and killed ; 
bat one, whom as soon as it sees, it is happy, hopes 
Ibr all help, and no longer remains fearful and solitary, 
bat immediately hastens and runs up to him with all 

Therefore, if we desire to make a blessed beginning 
of oar confidence, and to confirm ourselves, and be 
imised up with consolation, then, we must learn and 
know the voice of our shepherd, that is, of 

St ; and disregard the voices of all other shepherds, 
wiU Qidy draw us into errors, and drive us this 


way and that. We must hear and apprehend in our 
minds, that article only which Christ paints out to. our 
heart so sweetly and consolingly, and in such a way as 
never could be painted out by any reason ; so that our 
heart may say with all confidence, ^ Jesus Christ my 
Lord is the only shepherd, and I alas am a poor lost 
sheep, that has wandered away in the wilderness. Ne- 
vertheless, I am distressed with much anxiety of mind 
on account of my evil life, and I desire widi all the 
longings of my heart to be good, and to have a metcifiil 
God, and peace in my conscience! And I am here 
told, that he has a no less longing after me than I have 
after him ! 1 am labouring with deep anxiety to get to 
him, and he is anxious and desires nothing else than to 
bring me back to himself ! ' 

If we could but paint to ourselves his will in this 
way, and engrave it upon our heart, — that he has such a 
desire after us, and so sweetly spends himself upon us, it 
could not be that we should dread or fear him, but must 
run to him with a gladdened spirit, remain close to him 
only, and could not endure to hear the doctrine or voice 
of any other. For the intrusion of any other doctrine, 
whether of Moses or of any other, has no other effect, 
but to drive, agitate, and distress the conscience, that it 
can enjoy no peace or tranquillity. Therefore, Christ 
saith Matt. xi. " Come unto me, all ye that labour and 
are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke 
upon you, and ye shall find rest unto your souls," &c. 
As though he had said, run about and seek wheresoever 
ye will, hear and learn all that is preached unto you, 
yet, ye shall find no rest of heart, no peace, but in me 
only! — We will easily permit good works to be 
preached, a righteous life to be taught, the Ten Com- 
mandments to be set forth, and all other things which 
serve for the amendment of life, but only as they are set 
forth to the unhumbled and carnal multitude, and in 
order to bind and bridle the lasciviousness of our old 
Adam. But, when preaching to the conscience bound in 
straits and under tremblings on account of its sjns, no 
other word must be preached but that concerning 


ChrisL For this conscieDce is that poor, miserable, lost 
sheep, who can bear and hear of no other master, but 
the one only shepherd Christ; who neither urges the 
law, nor does any thine severely, but deals most sweetly 
and tenderly, laying the miserable sinning lost sheep 
upon his shoulders, and doing that ot his own spontane- 
ous aecord, which the sheep ought to have done. As we 
shall see more fully hereafter. 

But in this place, each doctrine, (as we have 
abundantly observed before,) or, the voices of Moses 
and of Christ, must be rightly distinguished. For the 
lost sheep has no business to come near Moses, and 
therefore, is not to be admitted where he is, though his 
preaching be never so excellent. For if, confounding 
these things, we attempt to raise up the troubled con- 
science in this manner, ' Be of good cheer ; thou hast not 
committed murder ; thou hast not polluted thyself with 
adultery, nor designed with deliberation any other out- 
rage. This is indeed a certain consolation, but it will 
endure but a very little time, nor can it sustain the 
hostile attacks and power of the devil, nor does it pro- 
duce or bring in any thing else but a self-contidence, 
which will render the miserable sheep no service ; for it 
remains, just as it was. before, astray hm\ lost ; nor can it 
at all help itself, nor come to its shepherd. But if it be 
to be raised up by consolation, then we must set before 
it its true shepherd, who is coming to seek it, to bring 
it back, and to speak that it may hear his voice. From 
this there will flow to it a true and effectual consolation, 
and it will be enabled to answer Moses boldly, and say, 
* Now I have nothing either for thy comforts or thy 
terrors ; and, if thou wilt, exaggerate my sins as much as 
thou canst ; make me a murderer and a parricide, or the 
very worst of all men; 'for now, I will neither follow 
thee, nor hear thy terrors with a fearful mind. This is 
the sheet anchor (as they say) of my consolation and 
salvation on which I with all confidence lean ; — that I 
have such a shepherd, who comes to seek me of his own 
will, and lays me upon his shoulders, and carries me. 
ConoeniiDg this shepherd, if thou wilt, we will dispute; 


not buyw righleous or how unrighteous I am, but how I 
may come to Christ ! 

Wherefore all preaching must ever be adapted 
to the state and capacity of the hearers. For I hare 
said, that this doctrine is not fitted for a carnal and 
hardened man, even as it is not fit that a laborious 
thresher should be fed on delicacies, (which are to be 
given only to comfort and restore sick persons,) but on 
black bread and cheese, the proper food for labouring 
men. Give the delicate meats, which arc easy of diges* 
tion, to sick persons or children who can digest nothing 
that is hard. 

So also, in this matter, the same difference is to be 
made, that thou mayest rightly administer these things, 
and give to each his portion as a prudent householder. 
For Moses and the ddctrine of the law are still to be 
observed by thee, because, thou mayest fall in. with 
proud, hardened, and intractable men, who live in secu- 
rity and without fear ; and before these, thou art to set 
this strong and common food of labouring men ; that is, 
thou art to set forth Moses for them to hear, who thun- 
ders and lightens from Mount Sinai, who destroys the 
people of Israel, who leads them into the wilderness, 
and who drowns king Pharaoh in the Red Sea. Bol, 
whenever thou meet with troubled hearts, and weak 
and afflicted consciences, which have now become lost 
sheep ; to them, say nothing whatever about Moses and 
all the works of God in his law, but begin to speak only 
about the works wrought by Christ in the kingdom oif 
grace ; and prove to, and diligently impress upon, the 
miserable conscience, how he shows himself towards 
the poor lost sheep ; namely, that he is a kind and good 
shepherd, who is greatly concerned for the lost sheep ; 
that he leaves all the rest, in his desire to find this one, 
and to bring it back into the right way ; and that he 
never ceases to search for it until he has brought ii 
home. For it is the deepest grief to him, that any maa 
should remain under sin, and thi^ tremble and fear ; nor 
can he endure, that any one should remain thereiQ and 
peri^. And therefore, he allures and calls th«e>aiost 

kmn^y by his sweet Gospel to come to him, lay thy- 
self upon his shouldeiSy and suffer him to carry thee and 
tx> call thee his dear sheep. 

But, the rest of the multitude of those who live in 
security and negligence, and care not at all whether 
God be wrath or whether he be pleased, are not to be 
called the lost sheep, but rather the wild goat, which 
will neither suffer itself to be fed or tamed. But he whose 
sns are a burthen to him, and who is struggling under 
Ibe conflict of faith ; where the peril is not, whether he 
shall lose Moses, but whether he shall lose Christ him- 
self Ae priucipal object ; that is, where the conscience 
is in fear and straits, whether God be favourable and 
will shew mercy ; this is the man, who, in truth, with 
si^is and groans seeks and cries after his shepherd, and 
entreats that he would stretch forth his hands to help, 
as David did. Psalm cxix. '' I have gpne astray like a 
lost sheep, seek thy servant,'* &c. To the taste of such 
as these, this susar and these sweet morsels are savoury, 
whereby their heart is revived and prevented from 
felling into desperation ; by such consolations as these 
it is refreshed and raised up, not through Moses, but 
tfarou^ Christ; not because it is reconciled to Moses, 
or made able to appease him, but because it has found 
God reconciled in Christ, wheresoever Moses may come 
in with his consolations. Although, at the same time, it 
is an ornament to us, even as it also becomes us, not to 
pve ourselves, contrary to the law, to theft, to robbery, 
to commit murder, or in any other way to injure or 
hart oar neighbour. This, however, is not a right conso- 
lation of the heart, but only a momentary tickling of 
the outward skin, as it were, which doth not abide or 
enter into the soul : because, if the devil come and at- 
tack the heart, all this consolation is utterly taken away : 
and although at any time thou mayest do what is right 
and flood, yet he will bring forth tenfold more instances 
in whidi thou hast done evil : nay, he will even in the 
purest works find out much impurity, and turn the 
whole into sins. 

Wherefmey we most not by any means rest upon 


such a consolation as this, but must ifither reject it, and 
say, ^ Whetlier I be good, or whether I be evil, I do 
not in the present case dispute ; but I leave that till we 
come to that place where we teach and talk about 
works ; but the ground on which I now stand, is not the 
place for talking about my works, and the goodness of 
my life, but concerning Christ and his works, which he 
has wrought for me his poor lost sheep. Wherefore, if 
thou ask whether or not I be a good and righteous man, 
I answer plainly, No! ,and therefore on this ground 
where I now stand, I will not be righteous. But if thou 
ask whether Christ be good and righteous, that I can, 
without doubting, and with all confidence, affirm ; and 
I place this in the stead of my own goodness and righte- 
ousness ; and to him alone, with all boldness, I appeal ; 
seeing that, I am baptized in his name, the letters and 
seal of which, I have contained in his Gospel ; — that I 
am his poor lost sheep, and that he is the good shepherd 
who seeketh the sheep that is lost, deals with me with- 
out any laws, and requires nothing of me ; and does not, 
like Moses, drive, force, and compel me, but holds oat 
to me pure and most sweet grace ; for he puts himself 
under me, takes me upon his shoulders, and carries me. 
Why then should I fear the thunderings and lightnings 
of Moses and the devil, when I lie down under his pro- 
tection, who has given me his righteousness and all other 
benefits, as a free gift, and who holds me safe and carries 
me ? For now, there is no farther danger that I shall 
perish, while I remain a poor lost sheep, and do not re- 
fuse my shepherd, but fear to depart rashly from him! 

Here then you have a representation set before 
you, in the most lovely manner that it could possibly be 
described. And now the only thing that is wanting, is 
faith : this is indispensably necessary. For the description 
is beautiful and most full of sweet consolation, and is 
truth itself; but the deficiency is, that it is not at once 
felt and enjoyed when it ought to be. For while the 
sheep is wandering ; that is, while the man feels that he 
is burthened with his sins, and knows not where to 
abide, and is thrown by the devil into a confusion of 



mindy in this state, he always runs in a contrary direc- 
tion, and cannot receive into his mind or hold fast that 
these things are true, for all that he has here heard, 
fklls away from his mind by reason of his present 
feelings and experience. For the devil has blinded his 
^^es, so that he can conceive of nothing else but the 
wiuth^and indignation of God. Wherel)y, his heart is so 
weighed down, that he cannot raise himself up in mind 
to turn his eyes another way. Nay, he lies so deeply 
drowned in this state of thought, that he can perceive in 
Christ nothing but an angry judge ; in the same way as 
he has been hitherto ever painted forth and impressed 
upon all men's hearts by the ungodly Papists — as sitting 
upon a bow in the clouds with a sword proceeding out 
ik his mouth. 

For one of the most insidious and impious devices of 

the devil that he practises upon the miserable sheep, is, 

to pervert these sweet representations of Christ, and to 

blind its eyes, that it might not know its shepherd, and 

that he might thus lead the man to Moses under the 

pretence of leading him to Christ ; and might then 

dispute concerning Christ, as he did before concerning 

Moses. Therefore, there is need of strong faith, ^vhen 

the man has to fight ajjjainst himself, and to believe that 

these things are true. I'or his own feelings of sin are 

strong enough of themselves, and to these, in addition, 

comes the devil, and exagi^eratcs sin and terror in a 

wcmderful manner: under the greatness and straits of 

which, even the very marrow in the bones, and the 

heart in the body, may melt away. Therefore, this faith 

is not so easily attained unto as some may imagine. 

When all things are quiet, it is an easy matter to believe 

diat Christ is sweet and amiable ; but when anxiety and 

terror break in and overwhelm the mind, then the man 

is blind and heartless, and will oifly believe according to 

what he feels and experiences in his heart; which feeling 

he follows, and tlnis confirms himself in his error ; for 

he is overtaken by it, and cannot think otherwise, than 

diat things are really as he feels them, although it is no 

such thing. •'« 

** 2c 


W^EREFORX, this is a skill, by which the man may 
say to his heart, — ' If thou confess that thou art a lost 
sheep, in that thou sayest rightly. But, seeing thou 
wbuldst nm^ away from Christ, and would^t conceive of 
him in thy mind that he is a man who would drive thee 
away and terrify thee, that is a suggestion and tempta- 
tion of the devil. For if thou didst rightly behold and 
confess him, as thy true shepherd, thou would not be 
afraid at the sight of him, nor wouldst thou conceive 
terror in thy mind, but wouldst run up to him with all 
gladness and confidence. For he does not come unto 
thee to condemn thee, but he comes to seek thee ; that 
he may lay thee upon his shoulders and carry thee, and * 
deliver and rescue thee from thy sins, from all errors, 
from the devil and his power, and from every peril. 
Dost thou feel therefore that thou art a sinner, and de- 
servest indignation ? Then thou oughtest to call upon 
that shepherd the more diligendy, that he would deliver 
thee from it ; nor shouldst thou conceive of him in thy 
mind otherwise than a sheep conceives of its shepherd ; 
whom it cannot fear, but is rendered glad and happy as 
soon as it sees or hears him ; although it might have 
run from him, and might have, on that account, a 
most just cause of fear. But it knows full well, that the 
shepherd cannot' be angry with the straying sheep, and 
therefore it promises to itself nothing but the greatest 
love and good-will/ — Therefore, the force of the whole 
lies in this alone, that thou rightly learn Christ, and 
view him according to the word of God, and not ac- •, 
cording to the thoughts and feelings of thine own mind : . 
for the thoughts of man are vain and lies, but the words 
of God are true and cannot deceive. Moreover, he has 
confirmed the same by lively operations and by exam* 
pies, and continues to confirm it daily throughout tbe 
whole of Christendom. Wherefore, the word only is to ' 
be engrafted in our hearts, and we must cleave to it with 
a steady mind, that we may prove our own hearts to be 
liars, and set this article of truth against them. For that 
alone will stand as truth, and all that is contrary to it 
will be found vanity and lies. 


But this is a skill of which I am myselt yet ignorant, 
much more so must those other vaio spirits be who 
boast a great deal concernin<j; it, making theiTiselves ap- 
pear to know all things about it the moment they hear 
~ mention of it; whereas, diey never had any real 
or experience of il whatever It is an easy matter 
to speak of this skill, but none know how dithcalt it is 
to Httain unto it in reality, but those who are seriously 
bmught to experience that difficulty. 

This is then the first description of our lovely (Christ, 
which is set forth by himself in this Gospel : wherein, 
he abundantly reveals the great love and the desires of 
hb most anxious heart towards us, shewing that he feels 
the utmost anxiety and concern for the recovery of the 
one sheep ; which one, leaving the ninety and nine, he 
seeks out and rinds, not with the intent of terrifying or 
beating it, but ihat he might bring it help, might find it 
iod bring it back, and might comfort the miserable 
and trembling conscience with his kin* I and sweet voice 
tod communion. From all w hich things you may see, 
how great a pleasure you give him by staying on him 
and cleaving to him witli your whole heart, and pro- 
mising to yourself from him every kind of goodness 
iod love. 

The second tiling which you clearly see, is, how 

he shews fortli his joy and unspeakable goodness by ex^ 

temal signs and gestures of every kind ; and how, after 

tfaejslieep is found, he discovers unto it his friendship. — 

He does not deal with it according to any law, as, in his 

airn right he might do; he does not drive it before him 

IS he does the rest, nor suti'er it to go alone. He does 

liOtte of these things, but he lays it upon his shoulders 

and carries it the whole way through the desert : thus, 

eoktog all the toil and labour upon himself, that he may 

cause the sheep to be at rest: nor does he do it against 

bi9 will, but gladly, for he is filled with joy at having 

found tlie sheep. And only observe, how^ well it is with 

the ^l*eep; in what safety and peace it lies upon the 

slioulders of its sheplierd ; with what satisfaction it sees 

Itself rest ^o sweetly, in being wholly dehvered from the 

2 c 2 



difficulty of the way, and free from all fear of dogs or 
wolves : that is, of all errors and lies, together with all 
perils and destructions. 

This representation indeed deserves to be called 
truly sweet and lovely, and consolatory to look upon. 
And our Lord Jesus Christ does just the same when he 
delivers us ; which he did once, corporally, by his pas- 
sion and death ; and he now continues to do the same 
in power, spiritually, by the preaching of his word. 
Whereby he so lays us upon his shoulders, and carries 
and defends us, that we may live in perfect freedom 
fix)m iedl perils of sin and the devil; which, although 
they may strike terror into us, and shew themselves as 
if they would devour us, yet can do nothing to injure 
us; ft)r, our being carried is our salvation ; and the 
same, driving away all fear, sets us free from every 
danger. Even so the sheep, while he lies' upon the 
shoulders of the shepherd, cares not at all though the 
dogs bark never so much, or the wolf lurk about in 
wait. Nay rather, it lays down its head in safety, and 
sleeps quietly from its very heart. So also we, while we 
remain immovable and stand fast in this article of 
faith, ' I believe in Jesus Christ our Lord who was cru- 
cified for us, and who died and rose again,' &c. find no 
reason whatever to fear that we shall perish or be de- 
voured by the devil, though he open his jaws never so 
wide. For we are not then walking on our own way, nor 
do wie walk on our own feet, but we hang on the neck of 
our shepherd and lie on his shoulders, where we are en- 
tirely safe. And though sin, death, and hell, be never so 
terrible, they dare not rush upon him. But, were we 
without him, we should be miserable sheep indeed, and 
our die would be cast at once. For, even as the sheep 
cannot take care for itself, nor prevent itself by foresight 
from wandering out of the way, unless it be guided by 
the shepherd ; and when it has wandered out of the ; 
way and is lost, it cannot of itself return to the shepherd, . ' 
but must be sought out and searched for by the shepherd 
until he have found it; and then, must be laid thus 
, upon his shoulders and carried home, lest it be frightened 


and driven away from him by the way, or be caught and 
devoured by a wolf; — in hke manner we also, can 
neither help ourselves by strength or by wisdom in order 
to give ourselves peace and tranquillity of conscience, or 
to effect our escape from the hands of the devil, death, 
and hell, unless Christ himself speak to us his word 
afresh, and call us thereby unto himself again. And al- 
though we then come unto him, and stand in faith, yet, 
it is not in our own power to keep ourselves therein, nor 
can we stand by our own strength, nor in any other way 
but by his continually holding us, raising us u(), and car- 
rying us by the power of his word : for the devil is ever 
devising and laying snares and dcstniction for us ; and 
*' as a roaring lion goeth about seeking whom he may 
devour," as the apostle Peter testifies ; w herefore, there 
is no room here for our glorying in the freedom of the 
will, or boasting of our own strength, for they have no 
influence at all, either in our beginning or our proceed- 
ing, much less in our persevering. — It is Christ our 
shepherd alone that worketh the whole ! 

Hence then we may be certain of this: — that, 
while we lie on the shoulders of Christ, we shall be in 
perfect safety, from all terror, and all peril ; for he will 
not permit us to be plucked or torn away from oiY his 
neck, nor will he himself throw us off; seeing that, he 
so exults and rejoices, that he has found the sliccp which 
was lost, and has brought it back again to the rest of 
the flock. And, in a word, there is here nothing of ter- 
ror, of dismay, or of exaction, hut only life and grace; 
which he communicates to his sheep most lovingly 
and tenderly. 

On the contrary, Moses, not like a shepherd of poor 

nuserable weak sheep, but like a herdsman of strong and 

great beasts, drives his cattle with a club and a rod by 

three-day journeys through the desert, until they are 

worn out with travelling. And it is by such a shepherd 

as this, that those hardened and proud ones are to be 

tuned and restrained. And even we also, as we shall be 

vnder Moses, (that is, according to the flesh and external 

Ife,) must do whatever the law requires. But, in that 


we are Christians and are so called, we must not in any 
way permk, that any work should be laid upon us or 
required of us, but we are to give ourselves up to 
Christ to be carried by him, and to be lifted up on 
high, not upon horses and chariots, but upon his own 
.^hould^rs only. Which, as I have said, is wrought by 
^ ordaining the Word to be preached unto us ; — that 
he died for us ; that he took away our sins in his own 
body on the cross ; that he has vanquished the devil, 
death, and sin, and has trampled them under his feet, and 
Hiade and opened to us a way unto everlasting life, and 
l^arries us in it all the time that we live. Wherefore, we 
are not to look to our life, how righteous or how faithful 
we are^ but are only to take care that we lie quietly 
up)on his shoulders. While we stand in this state of 
things, we need not trouble ourselves about any sin, 
death, life, or anxiety, because we have all things abun- 
dantly in Christ, who carries us and holds us fast. 

Nor is Christ satisfied with all these things, neither 
with having sought out the sheep so anxiously, nor with 
having found it and carried it back to the fold with such 
unspeakable joy ; but, when he has brought it l)ack, he 
appoints certain days in his house for feasting and gladly 
rejoicing, and calls together his friends and neighbours 
that they might rejoice with him. And to such a height 
does he carry this rejoicing, that he declares, that God 
himself in heaven, together with all the angelic hosts 
and all creatures, rejoices over one sinner that repenteth. ' 
In which words, he shews and sets forth, what kind of 
character it is that deserves to be called a " lost sheep,'*' 
— he that fervently desires to be delivered from his 
sins ; that aims only at coming unto Christ ; that alters 
for the better his external life, which is called, having a 
miserable and troubled, and so, a contrite and humble 
heart, and an afflicted conscience ; which the devil at- 
tacks in every way, and so straitens, that the man well 
nigh perishes in those straits. And Christ is such a 
man, who never seeks any sheep but that which is lost 
and cannot help itself. 

And now see, in what way Christ could be set forth 


with more teoderness, or in what words more eflGu:aci- 
ously consoling ! What do you imagine he conld do 
more to gladden the mind of a sinner, or to strengthen 
his confidence in himself more firmly ! For we here see 
the most loving shepherd, representing himself to us mi- 
serable sinners, as one that seeks his lost sheep with the 
most painful anxiety, bringing them back when he has 
found them with the greatest joy, and exulting in re- 
joicing so great, that even all the angels and saints, and 
idl creatures rejoice over us with him, and smile upon us 
more sweedy, more cbeeringly, and more brightly than 
the very sun in his splendor. For it is so, naturally, that 
when a man is sad, the sun and all things besides, wear 
a cheerless, dull, and cloudy aspect. On the other hand, 
when the heart of a man is glad, he has a tenfold alacrity, 
and all things appear to him clear and bright. 

And now, he that firmly believes these things, 
certainly feels, through Clirist, a true consolation and 
joy; for such an one has a sure persuasion, that he, by 
cleaving steadily unto Christ, and lying on his shoulders, 
is a welcome and acceptable guest in the kingdom of 
heaven, and is received with the utmost joy. But 
when we are in trouble and anxiety of conscience, 
we have a far jditferent feeling and sensation ; in which 
state, the heart can think of nothing else than that all 
the angels are close behind him with drawn swords. 
And while this fear obstructs the mind, there can be no 
lively joy conceived concerning either God or the angels: 
and some cannot look on any creature with a cheerful 
mind, but fear the sight of the sun, and are terrified at 
the moving of a leaf. All which arises from their terri- 
fying and gnawing themselves with their own cogitations, 
from which they would willingly disentangle them- 
selves; and tfiey try every means to get to feel that 
goodness in themselves which might allow them to be 
free from all fear. — But if thou hast a desire to conceive 
in tliine heart true consolation and joy, give all diligence 
to fix and impress well on thy heart this sweet represen- 
tation of the most lovely sliepherd, and to look for it 
where it is to bejseen, even in Christ, and no where 


else. Int. this Man thou wilt find all things, if thou but 
remain under his protection, and lie still upon his 
shoulders. But all the joy that can be obtained out of 
him, is not the true joy of the heart ; even if tliou call 
in to thy help all creatures, and enjoy all the pleasures 
and delights that the world can give ! 

Glory to God the greatest and the highest. 




/ am the good Shephtrd^ &;c. 

This Gospel contains great consolation ; setting forth 
the Lord Christ in a kind of fertile description ; — what 
his character is, what his works are, and how he is 
affected towards men ; saying, *' I am the good Shep- 
herd/' And we cannot more clearly present this to the 
eyes of our understanding, than by setting forth in a 
comparison, the difference between light and darkness, 
day and night ; that is, between a good and a bad 
shepherd ; for this is what Christ does here. 

Vou have already repeatedly heard, that God has 
ordained a twofold preaching to the world. The one, 
which sets forth the precepts of God — that we are not 
to have strange gods, not to murder or steal, not to 
commit adultery; and whith threatens death to the 
transgressors in these things; and which moreover, 
does not purify any man's heart from these things ; for 
although a man may, by these precepts, be so restrained 
from these sins as to have an external show of civil 
righteousness, yet, in his heart, he fosters a hatred of the 
law, and would that there were no law at ail. The other 


office of preaching; is, the Gospel ; which shews you 
where that strength is to \>e obtaineii that shall enable 
yoa to do those thin^ which the law prescribes : this 
preaching does not drive men by force, nor threaten 
them, but sweetly invites them. It does not say, ' Do this 
thing or that;' but it says, 'Come unto me ; I will shew 
thee to whom thou must go, and whence thou art to 
obtain power to become righteous. Behold here is 
Christ, who will give thee this abundantly.' 

Wherefore, these two things have this diftbrence 
between them : — the one is taking, the other giving : the 
one is exacting, the other freely l>estowing: and this 
difierence is to Ije most carefully observed. In this way 
it is that God ever has governed, and still does govern, 
the world. To carnal and lust-gnititying men, who arc 
not touched with the Gos|>el, the law is to be prciiched; 
which may act as a schoolmaster over them, and may 
restrain them until they l)e humbled and acknowledge 
their diseases. When this is done, then the Ciosj)el 
muf<t he set before them. 

These are the two offices of preaching which were 
ordained from heaven of God. Hut l>esi(ie these, there 
are others ; which, indeed, were not sent down from 
heaven, but are the invention*^ of men ; which the P()|)e 
and our bishops have introduced, in order to disturb 
consciences ; who are unworthy the name of shepherds, 
or indeeil of hirelings, but are those very [)ersons whom 
Christ calls thieves, robbers, and wolves. Hut if we will 
role men wholesomely, w^ must do it by th(? Word of 
God ; for where the Word of (iod is neglected in this 
government of men, there a certain anarchy prevails. 

Moreover, Christ here assumes another office, re- 
presenting it most descriptively. He makes himself the 
principal, and thus, the only shepherd ; for, that which 
be does not feed, is without |)asture. Let us then look 
into this preaching, which is so excellent, and so 
abounding with consolations. 

Ye have heard, then, that our Lord Christ, after 
lus crucifixion and deatli, came forth alive and ascended 
«p on high, and was translated into u state of total 


freedom from the power of death: not that he sits 
in heaven at ease (as they say) witW folded hands, 
vainly amusing himself^ and, according to the old proverb, 
enjoying himself; but rather, he holds the reins of em- 
pire, and himself governs his kingdom, and acts as king, 
as many of the prophets have spoken of him, and as the 
whole scripture abundantly testifies. Wherefore, let us 
believe, that he is continually with us; and let us not so 
fix him on that throne above, as though he sits on it 
given up wholly to slothful ease ; but let us be assured 
that he, from the seat above, observes and governs all 
things ; as Paul saith, Epltes. iv. that he above all 
things has his eye fixed on his own kingdom ; which is, 
the Christian Faith. 

Wherefore, the kingdom of Christ must go on here 
among us upon earth. Concerning this kingdom, we 
have said that it is so ordained, that we may all increase 
more and more, and become more and more pure every 
day. Moreover, that it is not administered by force, but 
by the preaching of the mouth; that is, by the Gospel. 
This preaching did not proceed from men, but was or- 
dained and performed by Christ himself, and after- 
wards inspired into the hearts of his apostles and their 
successors, that they might, by mouth, preach it to 
others. — This then is the kingdom of Christ ; it is thus 
that he reigns ; so that, all the power and efficacy of his 
administration are placed in the Word of God, And 
those who hear and believe this Word belong to this 
kingdom : which Word, is rendered so powerful, that it 
effects all things that are necessary for man, and carries 
with it a certain full treasury of all good tilings : " for 
it is the power of God unto every one that believeth,** 
as Paul saith, Rom. i. and is able to save all men. 
Wherefore, if thou believe that Christ died and rose 
again to deliver thee from all destruction, and if thou 
cleave to that Word, it is so sure and certain, that no 
creature can overthrow it. And as no creature can 
subvert the Word, so thou canst not in any way be de- 
ceived when thou restest upon it as upon a certainibun- 
dation. And being thus fortified by the Word, thou wilt 


conquer sin, death, evil spirits, and hell : and thus, thou 
wilt come and be drawn into that state where the word 
itself is ; that is, into eternal peace, joy, and life : and, 
to be brief, thou wilt be made partaker of all the 
blessings that are contained in the word ! 

This kingdom, therefore, is wonderful. The word 
itself is present, and is thundered forth by a living voice 
before all : but its power is quite hidden : nor can any 
one have a proof of its energy, nor know that it is so 
powerful, but he who believes it. Moreover, you must 
feel and taste it in your own heart. We ministers can 
do nothing else than become the mouths and instru- 
ments of our Ix)rd Christ, though which he sensibly 
preaches his word. He permits the word to l)e pro- 
claimed openly, that all may hear it But for the heart 
itself to digest it and feel it within, that is the operation 
of faith, and is the mystical work of Christ ; which he 
works, according to his divine predestination, where 
and when he will. 

And this is the sum of what he saith, " I am the 
good Shepherd. For who is a good shepherd ? A gfKxl 
shepherd layeth down his life for die sheep ; I also lay 
down my life for my sheep." In this description of his 
power he comprehends all thinj^s at once, and sets 
before us a sweet comparison drawn from sheep. You 
see that the nature of this animal is altogether so fool- 
like and simple, that it has even furnished a proverb 
which is usually applied to persons that have stupid 
and senseless heads — * lie is a sheep '/ Or, * He has a 
sheep's head ! ' That is, he has the ways of a sheep. 
Though its nature is also this: — that it hears the voice 
of its shepherd sooner than any other animal whatever : 
nor will it follow any other than the shepherd of its own, 
flock. And it is so devoted, that it will cleave to none 
other but its shepherti ; to whom alone, when it is in 
trouble, it flees. It cannot help itself, nor of itself feed 
uid be taken care of; but depends absolutely upon the 
care of another in every respect. The nature of diis 
animal, Christ uses as a comparison; and, by a parable; 
inakes himself Uie shepherd ; wliercin he beautifully. 


sets forth, of what nature his kingdom is, and in what 
it consists. As though he had said, My kingdom is 
nothing else than my presiding over sheep; that is, 
miserable and troubled men in this world; who can 
know and find, out of me, no succour, no counsel 
to help themselves I 

MoREovKR, to set this forth more clearly, and that 
it might be the better understood, let us adduce out of 
the prophet Ezekiel, ch. xxxiv., those words in which he 
thunders against evil shepherds who are opposed to 
Christ : saying, " Wo unto the shepherds that feed 
themselves ! should not shepherds feed the flocks ? Ye 
eat the fat and ye clothe you with the wool : ye kill 
them that are fed, but ye feed not the flock. The 
diseased have ye not strengthened; neither have ye 
healed that which was sick ; neither have ye bound up 
that which was broken ; neither have ye brought again 
thijit which was driven away ; neither have ye sought 
again that which was lost ; but with force and with 
cruelty have ye ruled them. And thfey were scattered 
because there was no shepherd ; and they became meat to 
all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My 
sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon 
every high hill," &c. — God here rebukes the shepherds 
for being negligent in feeding the cattle. Only weigh the 
contents of the words. In this place, that which he the 
most seriously and with the greatest concern sets forth, 
is, that the weak, the sick, the broken, the driven away, 
the lost, should be strengthened, healed, sought out, and 
brought back to the fold. Tliis (says he) is what ye 
shepherds ought to have done, but ye did it not. Where- 
fore, I wjU take upon me the ofiice of a good shepherd ; 
as he saith a little after, '* I will seek that which w^as 
lost, and bring again that which was driven away ; and 
will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen 
that which was sick." 

Here you see, that the nature of the kingdoni of 
Christ, is to be occupied in the care of the weak, the 
sick, and the broken ; and that Christ is set before 
them for that very end, that he may administer to them 


the healing hand. This preaching is indeed full of great 
consolation. But our deficiency is here, — we have not a 
sufficient feeling sense of our calamitous state ; for if we 
felt that, we should flee to this true and very Hercules. 
He is the deliverer from all evil. — But what did those 
shepherds? They ruled with the rigour of Manlius: 
they enforced the law of CJml with imposing tyranny : 
to which'they added moreover their own inventions, as 
the same shepherds also do in our day : against which 
inventions if you transgress, they immediately cry out 
and condemn you without law or mercy : so that, their 
administration is nothing else than a continual driving 
and commanding. But Christ, who is wholly unlike all 
these, declares -that such is not rightly feeding and 
mling souls. For in this way, no one is hol|>en, hut 
rather is robbed of the ho|)e he may have, and is de- 
stroyed, as we shall presently hear. Let us therefore, 
now go over tlie description of the prophet in all its 

First, he says, that the ueak sheep are to be com- 
forted. Tliat is, consciences which have but a weak 
faith, and are of a sorrowful spirit, and arc yet very 
sore, are not to he tyrannically dealt with, anvi rebuked 
thus ; — ^ Thou must do this. Thou must be strong : for 
if thou be weak, thou wilt be numbered among the 
damned.* This is not to administer courage and strength 
to the weak. Paul, Rom. xiv. teaches that we are to re- 
ceive such as are weak in the faith. Wherefore, they are 
not to be driven with hatred or iniquity, but are rather 
to be holpen up by administered consolations ; lest, t)eing 
weak, they should despair; whereas, in time, they \\ill 
attain unto pro|>er strength. Tor the prophet Isaiah 
speaks thus sweetly concerning Christ, chap, xlii., " A 
braised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall 
he not quench.*' " ^fhe bruised reed," sii^nities weak and 
• afflicted consciences ; which are easily shaken and 
driven to desperation. These God does not at once 
trample under his feet; this is not the nature of the 
divine being; he rather gently and carefully deals with 
tbem that they fall not. ^* Smoking flax'' which has, as 



yet, hardly a spark of fire^ and is rather smoke than 
kindling hre, signifies those same weak ones; whose 
spirit shall not utterly fail, for he will not entirely extin- 
guish them; nay, he will by degrees fan them to a 
flame, and will strengthen them more and more. What 
consolation think ye may they draw from hence, who 
understand these things! He, therefore, who does not 
lead with a kind, and as it were indulging hand, those 
consciences that are yet weak, is not to be reckoned 
among the number of profitable shepherds. 

Secondly, saith the prophet, " that which was 
sick ye ought to have healed." Who then are these 
" sick?" Truly, those who labour externally in the en- 
tanglements of various works. It signifies weak con- 
sciences, principally. And next, it refers to the external 
walk in life. That is, when any one, in fits of self-will 
and wrath, is driven headlong this way or that, in a pas- 
sion ; or commits at times other foolish sins of the same 
kind ; even as the apostles also themselves offended in 
these gross things. Those, therefore, who thus offend in 
these external things, and break through the bounds of 
what is right, before men ; so that they, being offended, 
may say of such, that they are men of bad and morose 
spirits ; — these, God does not at once scratch off from 
his books, (as they say) ; for his kingdom is not ordained 
to receive none but men that are sound and of perfect 
health, because these pertain to the life to come. But 
Christ now sits on the throne of state above, to exercise 
a care over these helpless ones, and to send them succour 
from thence under all their calamities. 

Wherefore, let us not at once conclude, when we 
sensibly feel our weakness and frailty, that all hope of ^ 
our salvation is gone, and that we are banished from the 
kingdom of Christ. Nay rather, on the contrary^ the 
more consciousness we have of our weakness, the moM 
determinately let us go unto Christ. For it is for OM 
very end that he sits in state, — that he might, when w^ 
ask him, administer unto us some remedy for, and alle* 
viation of, our sorrows. If therefore thou be sick, and 
feel thyself to be a sinner and full of misery, thou hast 


the greater need to go unto him and say, ' O Loni, I 
therefore come unto thee because I am a sinner ; that 
thou mi^test take from me the burthen of my sins, and 
make me righteous.' Thus thy very necessity should be 
a spur in thy side : for the greater and more raging thy 
disease is, the more shouldst thou run to the aid of some 
physician; this I would especially impress upon thy 
mind. And Christ therefore invites us, that when our 
strength is all gone, we should go to him. But tlicse 
false shepherds persuade themselves, that men may l)e 
made ri^teous by loud bawling and compulsive driv- 
ing: whereas, by such means, they only become worse. 
Hence it is, that we see in this day, that this pre- 
posterous way of instructing men, only tends most 
miserably to confound all things ; as the prophet here 

Thirdly, " that which was torn have ye not hound 
op." To be ** torn," is when a man's* mouth or rih is 
broken, or any other hurt received : that is, when the 
Christian is not only weak, and slips out of the way 
through the infirmity of nature, or makes a slip of the 
tongae, (from which sins no one is in all respects free,) 
bat when he falls into heavy temptation*^ so as to break 
a l^, and afterwards, to fall down and depart from the 
Gospel through a denial of it ; as Peter did when he 
denied Christ. Now if any one fall thus enormously, so as 
even to be driven quite back, or to fall prostrate on the 
groand, yet his name is not to be scratched oft' from the 
book of Christians, as though he had utterly fallen out 
of Christ's kingdom. Christ must and will be ever like 
himself: and his kingdom must and will consist in no 
odier thing, than the same overflowing abundance of 
mere grace and mercy : so that his work will ever con- 
tinue to be a helping those, who acknowledge their mi- 
9aj in departing from him, and who desire to be 
lesciied from that misery: and thus, his kingdom will 
never be any thing but an administering of help and 
comfort. And as a shepherd, he will ever with an admi- 
laUe kindness and amiablencss be putting himself in the 
* Wf and in the sight of all, and inviting and alluring 


them to himself; desiring to shew himsdf eveiy Chii^ 
but a God inaccessible. 

JMoreovet, all these things are ^administered by die 
Gospel only. This is. the only support for thd weak, the 
only medicine for the sick. For the word is of that na-^ 
ture, that it is a certain heal-all for ev^ diaease of Ae 
mind, a medicine for every patient, and a khid of solace 
that drives away every care and trouble from Ae heart ; 
so that no one, though overwhelmed with the guilt of 
sins never so great and peculiar, need despair. Christ 
alone therefore is the true and real shepherd ; the true 
helper under every distress ; who averts every evil, and 
lifts up every one that is fallen. No one that is not 
thus affected toward his sheep, deserves the name of 

Fourthly : saith the prophet, " That which was 
driven away ye brought not back." What is that which 
is " driven away ?" Truly, the soul that is despised and 
brought to shame ; which is thought by most to be ut- 
terly lost. But persons of this kind, Christ will have 
treated tenderly. For he does not so contract his kii^- 
dom as to admit none but the strong, the whole, and the 
altogether perfect, to dwell thet*ein: — that perfectkn 
pertains to the future kingdom after death. But this pie- 
sent kingdom of his, wherein he presides until the di^ 
of the resurrection over those who are yet subject to' 
mortality, breathes nothing but grace and sweetness^ 
even as God declared to the future race of Israel, that 
the promised land should flow with milk and hon^: 
which also St. Paul confirms when he says, 1 Cor. xiL 
" Those members of the body which we think to. be 
less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant 

Fifthly: the prophet saith in conclusion, " That 
which was lost ye have not sought out." " That which 
is lost," signifies that which is thought to be so con* 
demned, as to be beyond all possibility of being recalled 
to amendment. Such as ai;e the publicans and hariots ift 
the Gospel : and such, among us, who appear to be al* 
together untameable, and who refuse the bridles of- dU 

discipline. These are in no wise to be disregardeif;! 
but to be called back into the way by all possible 
means. Even as ue read Paul did^ when he delivered 
over two unto Satan, 1 Tim. i, *' Whom (says he) I 
have delivered unto Satan, that they might be chastened, 
aiici might learn hereafter not to blaspheme/' And also, 
1 Cor, V. ** I have resolved to deliver such an one unto 
Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the Spirit 
may be saved/' &c. The^e he cast out as condemned, 
but afterwards, he restored them. 

Wherefore Christ must be preached, as rejecting no 
one %^hatever, how weak soever he may be, but as being 
ready to receive unto himself all of every sort, and to 
oofDiort, support, and help them ; and that he is ever to 
be view*ed by the eyes of our mind, under the character 
of a good shepherd. Such a representation as this, hearts 
will gladly follow. So that, men are no more to be urged 
and driven by iniquitous compulsion. For the* Gospel 
carries in itself that power of attraction, that it invites 
and causes minds to follow spontaneously ; and works 
in men a willingness to come, together with a confidence 
in coming. Under this they conceive a love and afiec- 
HgillD for Christ; so that now, they perform all the du- 
Hbs of a Christian with a willing mind ; whereas before^ 
&cy needed to be driven with spurs and bawling re- 
proofs. Those things however which we do from being 
drii^Q by bawling words, we do against our will, and 
with |i reluctant mind ; and such an obedience as this. 
Cod cannot endure. But when I see that the Lord has a 
ttiDd so favourably inclined towards me and so w^illing 
to §crve me, my heart is so softened that I cannot con- 
miB myself, but immediately leave all other things and 
nm up to him ; and, from this time, my heart is filled 
mA% all pleasure and joy. 

Here then observe what an accursed thing it is for 
one to judge another. The kingdom of Christ, as we 
ha^re beard, is for that end established, that it might 
liave respect unto sick souls, and might render them 
fij^Ceous. Wherefore, all those must be in error, who 
look only at the strong and the holy. And hence, the 

3 D 



chief of all knowledge, is to know Christ ari^iL Fpr it 
is engendered in us by nature to be ourselves filled with 
sins within, and yet to wish all men to be holy ; and 
with great eagerness to look upon strong Christians 
only, turning away all the while our eyes from the weak, 
and persuading ourselves, that those who are thus weak 
are not to be reckoned among the company of Chris- 
tians ; and therefore, those whom we behold to be defi- 
cient in the smallest matters of sanctity, we will not 
hold to be saints, while we at the san^e time wink at our 
own sins, when we are all the while far worse ;than 
others. This arises from our nature, which is so filled 
with deadly poisons ; and from the forwardness of our 
reason, which is ever measuring the kingdom of God 
according to its own apprehension ; and imagining, that 
those things which appear vile in its own eyes, are vile 
in the e3^e8 of God. Wherefore, all these things must be 
far removed from thine eyes. For after thou hast imar 
gined in this way, as long and as much as thou canst, 
Uiou only plungest thyself a^er all into such thoughts as 
these. — * I am undone ! Which way shall I turn ! If 
Christianity be this, that it receiveth none but the 
strong, the perfect, and the righteous, when shall 1 ever 
attain unto that state ! ' — And in this way thou wilt 
bring thyself into that perplexity that thou never wilt be 
able to arrive at a state of Christianity. 

Wherefore, thou must come at last to this point, to 
say — * O Lord, I feel that I am of such and such infir- 
mity ; and am as one sick and broken in mind :. yet thia 
shall be so far from being a hinderance to me, that I will 
on that very account, come unto thee to implore thy 
aid : seeing that thou art a shepherd, and thai good 
shepherd, and I doubt not in the least that thou art such 
an one : therefore, I will not despond in my mind, how 
destitute soever I may be of good works.' — Hence this 
is the place for exerting a determination of: mind, that 
we may learn to know Christ rightly in this way : — t^iat 
his kingdom is the receptacle of the weak and the sk4 
only : so that it is in nature and appearance a kijod €^ 
hospital or infirmajry, wherein there are none but dijigwed 


pcnoQS, who are lying down, and have need of being 
attOKled eawtiltbey be healed. But this knowled^ ' 
v«y few'teceive : this is a wisdom not known to the 
c^gr: ao that» oftentimes, those are very deficient in it; 
who are paitak^B of the Gospel and of" the Spirit. For 
Urns is the highest wisdom, unto an higher than which 
none can attain* Wherefore, although men look into the 
scriptures and see that they extol th^ kingdom of Christ 
in a wooderfiil manner, yet they do not seriously consider 
with themselves, what meaning is really couched in 
those.words; nor do they observe that very deep wis- 
dom, which is wisdom itself, that lies hidden under 
thesi, nor how widely that differs from all human wis- 
dom. For we. do not use our wisdom before the wise and 
pcadent and the disputers of this world, and thus prosti- 
tute it unto them ; but we use it before fools and die 
base things of the world ; not, however, that we mav 
gatify oitfselves therelfy, but rather that we may pluck 
men out of the world, in order that they may emerge 
from their sins and wretchedness, and attain unto 
righteousness and a sound understanding. 

Hence it is evident, that Christian wis<iom consists 
in this ; — that we raise not up our eyes on high, nor aim 
at-that only which is exalted and wise, and thus have 
lofty notions of ourselves ; but rather, that we turn our 
eyes to contemplate what is lowly, and observe that 
iiiiich is humble and foolish. He that htis attained unto 
tUs wisdom, let him give thanks unto God. For by this 
knowledge be is become such an one, that he can rightly 
accommodate himself unto every thing that happens in 
the worid. Wherefore, you will find many, yea very 
many/ who are preachers of the Gospel, that have not 
jg^ attained unto this wisdom. For hitherto, we have 
been so instructed and so trained up, as to believe, that 
none can apply his mind to come'unto Christ, unless he 
b^fipBt .perfectly pure. Wherefore, thou must unlearn 
Aba peisaasion, and imUbe that true understanding of 
kMwiog Christ rightly ;— that he is the true and good 
ihmtiOirii itf whom we have heard already, 
a A»iv vciw,:Jby wapy of< antithesia, 1» eomparea I 

S dS 


self, the good shepherd, with a bad shepherd, or an 
hireling, and shews that he is the true and good shep- 
herd. And even as the name Christ is proper to him 
only, and yet he is not displeased at our having the same 
appellation also, and being named after Christ ; so, al- 
though he be the only shepherd, yet he allows ministers 
to apply the same appellation to themselves. So also. 
Matt xxiii. he forbids us to call any one upon earth by 
the name father, because one only is our fadier, even he 
who is in heaven. And yet, nevertheless, Paul calls him- 
self the father of the Corinthians, when he says, 1 Cor. 
iv. " In Christ Jesus I have begotten you,'' &c. Tliusalso 
God declares that he alone will be called father, and yet 
he permits men to be called by that name, and that they 
also should be fathers ; which, however, they have not 
from themselves, but from Christ. So also we are 
called Christians ; but on this account only ; — because . 
we have nothing of ourselves, but receive all as freely 
^ven unto us for Christ's sake. 

** But the hireling (saith he) who is not the shepherd, 
and whose own the sheep are not, when he seeth the 
wolf coming, leaveth the sheep and flceth, because he is 
att hireling. ' This is indeed a fearful saying, that some 
even appear to preach and inculcate the Gospel purely, 
and to comfort and heal the sheep; and yet, at last, 
suffer them to be taken away and torn ; then only 
looking to their own safety by flight, when there was the 
most need of present help. As long as no wolves 
appear, they discharge their duty sedulously and well ; 
but as soon as they see the wolves rushing in upon the 
sheep, they leave them at once. And if they have fed 
those sheep well, so that they have become mt, strons, 
and sound, they are then only the more delicious morsds ' 
to satisfy the belly of the wolf. 

But what is the meaning of this part of the parable? 
The meaning of Christ is this. — In my kingdom, (whidi' 
consists in nothing else, but in establishing the weak, di ^ 
healing the sick, and in giving courctge to the fearfii]^ ^ 
the holy cross shall by no means be wanting. For whoi 
it shall be preached that Christ only is iieedful untp oil 


whose poor miserable sheep we are ; that he only is oar 
strength, our salvation, our defence, and our refuge ; 
Aat our own powers and our own works are of no avail 
whatever; and that we are to put no trust in, them; 
(whereby all our own works, and ail the inventions and 
contrivances which the world vamps up for worshipping 
and gaining the favour of God, vanish like a cloud of 
dust before the wind ;) such preaching as this, the world 
cannot bear, — that it should be the nature of the Gospel 
to bring with it the cross as an inseparable companion. 
And therefore, whosoever shall honestly confess this 
iiom his heart before the whole world, such an one 
mast of necessity expose his life to tlic sword. 

If therefore these things are so, we have here a se- 
paration of the good shepherds from the bad, in the 
most open manner. He tliat is an hireling, only preaches 
the Gospel so long as he hears himself called a learned, 
good, and holy man. But afterwards, when he comes 
to be reviled and branded with the opprobrious appella- 
tkm of an eviUyillain and a heretic, or is made the sub* 
ject of public ridicule, he then either recants or falls ut- 
teriy prostrate, and leaves the miserable and pitiable 
sheep alone and without a shepherd; and now, they 
are in a worse state than they were before. And what 
avails it that the sheep were well fed ; this is of no ser- 
vice to them now. Whereas, had they been true shep- 
herds, they would rather have lost their lives than have 
left the sheep in the jaws of the Wolf; being ready at 
any time to lay down their lives for the Gospel's sake. 
And hence, they are any thing but true German shep- 
herds, the tendency of whose preaching is only the in- 
crease of their gain in this life. These are, without con- 
troversy, hirelings. They seek their own gain, under 
cover of the Word of God ; and only maintain and hold 
fut thdr principles, so long as this province will bring 
them honour and renown. But when the wolf begins to 
BMke Ms appearance, they draw back their feet, basely . 
deny the Gospel, or betake themselves to flight, and 
1mm the flock of sheep destitute. They look about them 
for dwir pastnre and for their shepherd, who shookt 

406 '^ 

defend them from the rapacious wolves, but the excel- 
lent shepherd no where makes his appearance;. tiV die 
very juncture of time, when he ought to have stood for- 
ward as a defence, and to have administered strength to 
the sheep, he was gone ! 

This continually happens in our day. When these 
matters often come to that pass, that even violent hands 
are laid upon us by the rage of persecution, then 
preachers shut their mouths; and when the firmest 
stand ought to be made, then they betake themselves 
the most to flight ; while the sheep are scattered in a 
miserable manner, and are carried and driven away in 
every direction. May God grant that some of them 
at least may defend the Gospel of Christ with a firm- 
ness of mind, and may be ready to shed their blood, if 
circuiAstances shall require it, in defence of the sheep. — 
Thus has Christ pourtrayed hirelings ! . ^ 

He saith moreover, *^ I am the good Shepherd, and 
I know my sheep, and are known of rtine.** These 
words have an extensive signification ; and it would 
take up a great deal of time if we were to dwell upon 
them particularly. He is here speaking of that office 
which belongs peculiarly to him. There is, says he, a 
mutual knowledge between me and my sheep. How 
comes this to pass ? He shews how it is immediately af- 
terwards^ " Ab the Father knoweth me, even so know I 
the Father.'* And how knoweth he the Father ? Not by 
. human, but by a divine knowledge. - '*** 

• I have sometimes spoken upon this more largely 
upon former occasions. The sum of the matter is thi»**^ 
Christ knows iis as his sheep, and we on the other haBd 
embrace him as our shepherd. We have already heani 
who the good shepherd is, and on the other hand/irfao 
the poor- weak sheep tare. He looks upon us as sheep 
which are ready to feint, are sick, and have broken 
limbic . that is, he is not at all offended that his sheep 
are* thus^ diseased and sick, nor does he on that itwmi^ 
despise or reject them ; but rather, devotes himself -to 
thair-service, and administeFS ti> tbera' the healing httkL 
For akhOQ^ th^ be so diseased and unsoiitm, tet 


diey appear to the whole world to be no sheep of hisi 
yet this is only the knowledge of the world. Christ does 
nc^ thus know his sheep, nor does he regard of what 
partidilar kind they are ; but this is what he observes, — 
whether they have the name of sheep, and be sheep in- 
deed His eyes are on the sheep, not on the wool ! 

In a wonl, those are real shepherds, and they follow 

the footsteps of Christ, and know sheep as he knows 

them, who keep their eye upon the person, and not upon 

the diseases or the defects ; and who thus make a dif- 

ferrace between the sheep and the disease. ^^ My Father 

(saith Christ) knowcth me, but the world knoweth me 

not'' When that time shall come, that they shall nail 

me to the cross, and punish me with an ignominious 

death, then shall they all say with one voice, ' What ! Is 

this the Son of God ! No ! he must be some condemned 

and apostate wretch out of the refuse of mankind, whos6 

sool and body are both under the full power of the 

devil!' The world shall hold and consider me to be 

some such vagabond as this. But my Father shall say, 

' This is my Gloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ! 

He is my King, and my Saviour ! ' He will not look at 

my affliction, my wounds, my cross, and my death, but 

at my person ; that is, he will look at me my vei^ self. 

Wherefore, although I may be in the very belly of hell, 

and in die very jaws of the devil, yet I must of necessity 

be delivered therefrom, for my Father cannot cast away 

all bis care for me ! And thus it is that I know my 

sheep, and they know me. They are fully persuaded 

dmt I am that good shepherd, and they know me as 

SQch : and therefore, they flee unto me and cleave close 

onto me : nor are they in the least terrified at being 

adject to diseases and imperfections of many kinds ; 

because they well know, that I embrace none but sheep 

of such a sort. 

And now he concludes and says, " Other sheep 

I have which are not of this fold : them also I must 
bring, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." — 
Some have so handled this scripture, as to say, that it 

II to be fblfiUed in the last days, when Antichrist sbfi* 


come in, and Elias and Enoch Bhall appear; bat all 

this is nothing at all ; and this opinion was enjgiendered 

in the minds of men by that evil spirit; Jaojdanus, thai 

they might believe, that all the world should in the end 

become Christian. And he tried to bring men into diif 

persuasion, that, the true doctrine being obscured, nc 

one might be able to attain unto it. Wherefore, I chaigi 

thee to beware of this imposture. For this scriptuie wai 

verified and fulfilled immediately upon the ascension ci 

Christ, and is still going on to be fiilfiUed at this day. 

When the Gospel was first promulgated, it was preadied 

to the Jews, and that people then became part of this 

fold. And where he here says, ^^ Other sheep I have 

which are not of this fold, them also I must brins, and 

they shall be one fold ; *" he here shews that the Gospd 

must be preached to the Gentiles also, that they abo 

might believe in Christ, that the Jews and Gentilei 

might become one church. Which thing Christ afte- 

wi^s wrought by the apostles, who preached the Gospd 

to the Gentiles, and won them over to the faith. So 

that now, there is one body, one church, one faith, one 

hope, one love, one baptism, &c. And the same work 

is going on also to this day in power, and will still go 

on unto the last day. Wherefore, entertain not a penoft- 

sion, that all the world and all men will become hofy 

members of Christ's church. The cross, as a certain ex* 

temal sign, attends Christians : and therefore, tiberemuit 

be the greatest part of the world of that body who p0> 

secute the disciples of Christ. But the Gospel must siiH 

go on to be preached without intermission, that MM 

may be continually won over to Christianibf. Foi 

Christ's kingdom is not yet perfectly accomplished, hrt 

will be fully perfected in the life to come.— This is • 

^compendious explanation of this Gospel ! 

- litil^ J. . 




MARK viii. 

In those days^ the multitude being very greats and 
having nothing to eat, Jtsus called his disciples unto him ; 
and saith unto them^ I have compassion on the mul- 
titude ^ S^. 

I HOPS, my dearest friends, that the meaning of this 
Gospel is by no means unknown to you : for your under- 
standing has taken root in these mysteries sufficiently 
deep, to make it easy for you to comprehend what 
knowledge you may derive from this Gospel, and what 
is therein set forth unto us. Namely, the true principle 
and nature of faith! And this is the end for which 
Christ is set forth unto us by all the evangelists, as 
being so full of all tenderness. For although the various 
drcomstances and events are described by them with 
some variation, yet the simplicity of faith which they all 
set forth, is every where the same. And this Gospel 
sets forth Christ unto us, in his own colours, with so 
descriptive a pencil, that each one of us may with cer- 
tainty know, what he may promise to himself from him : 
namely these things. — That he is merciful, kind, present- 
ing himself unto us, setting himself before us, and easy 
ofaccess unto all who will dee unto him. And this is 
the view of him that faith should ever have before itself. 
The scripture sets before us two objects of contempla- 
tion. Tlie one, full of fear : which sets before our eyes 
the terrible wrath of God, in the sight of whom no one 
can stand : under which contemplation, all of necessity 
despair, unless they be supported by faidi. But, opposed 
to mis is aoother object : that is, of grace : which ol^aol. 


fiuth may behold with full and steady contemplation, 
may draw from it sources of consolation under all dis- 
tresses, and conceive from it a confidence in the good- 
will of God. Under which hbpe, a man may not only 
dare to promise to himseif all good from God, but may 
believe, that there is in him an infinite treasure more or 
heljJ, which he may readily have in every time of need. 

You have often heard already, that there are<two 
kinds of good things, spiritual and temporal. This 
Gospel teaches us litde children how to believe for 
diese very precarious and corporal things ; and it is set 
before the weak, as though represented in a pigture. 
Whence we may learn this goodness of God : — ^namely, 
how bountiful he is in bestowing his riches upon us. 
And hence, as soon as we have learnt how willing God • 
is to take care of our bodies, we hereupon begin to think 
with ourselves, that he can also supply us with spiritual 
food and raiment fot our souls. But if I cannot commit 
my body to him to be fed, how much less shall I be able 
to commit my soul unto him ^ to be preserved for ever? 
Or, if I cannot be brought to believe that he will give 
me one pound, how, I pray you, shall I hope to have 
from him ten pounds? If I cannot with confidence 
promise to myself from a person a piece of bread, much 
less will my mind by any means be brought to believe, 
that he will leave me a farm or a whole estate. He 
therefore that cannot apprehend this tender, and, as it 
were, suckling faith, to him it will certainly be a most 
difficult matter to believe, that God will pardon his 
sins, and eternally save his soul. For we are persuaded, 
^t the soul is of a thousand-fold more value than die 
fitelly; towards which, however, he shews mercy, as 
the Gospel of this day teaches. 

Wherefore the. apostle Peter, 1 Epist. ii. properiy. 
gives this admonition, " Beloved brethren, as new- 
teflito babes desire the milk, (not of the body, but of the 
i^iil,^t^ich i* sincere and uncorrupt,) that ye may grow 
th^dfey.**' For it is^ not ciriough that the infant be pu)t 
tb^the br^t ahd'suek/ biit'Hd mfist grow in size and 
gainjittengliiVthat he may afterwards be able to ftedf 


on bread and mora solid food. — To feed on milk, U to 
have a taste of the favour and grace of God. Moreover, 
to taste die good-will of God towards us, is to put it in 
practice in our lives. For although I may preach the 
good-will of God towards us, and his clemency and 
mercy, with a full anouth (as they say) for an hundred 
years together,* ^et that will profit me nothing unless I 
myself taste and have an experience of those blessings 
for myself. This is the source of true confidence in 
Christ. And hence you may see, how rare a bird a true 
Christian is. You may indeed find many who commit 
their bellies unto God. But all that is only on the sur- 
£ice» and the outside of the matter; it rests on the out- 
aide of the ear only, when it ought to sink down into all 
the deep recesses of the heart ! • 

'Let us then now consider this example; whidi 
teaches us- the principle and nature of faith. The 
apostle, Hebrews xi. has left it written thus, *' Faith 
(saith he) is the substance of things hoped for, the evi- 
cienoe of tilings not seen." That is, 1 am to expect a 
certain good which I can neither see with my eyes, nor 
hear with my ears ; and of which I am to cherish the 
hope only ; which is here exemplified in this Gospel of 
to-day. Here, about four thouscmd men, together with 
their wives and children, had sustained a three-d^ys' 
Cttst, (and was not this a fast indeed,) who were all but 
perishing with hunger, were a whole day's journey away 
firem their houses, and were deprived of every means of 
sustaining i their bodies. Now Paul saith, that faith is a 
diing of dmt nature that a man is wholly to rest upon it 
as a foundation, and to hope for those eood things 
whidi the eyes cannot see. And it was sucn a faith as 
this that the multitude had ; who cotild see no provi* 
flion, and yet still trusted in God that he would feed 

- Moreover, what does Christ? He indeed, as it b^ 
hoved hiai, displayed a great depth of wisdom. He 
toes to die apoetles and asks them ho«r*all these are to 
Wfed.^'I1ie dncipki aiMrei^ Wibance shalltirie. 
bMidhewia the de«C to iatiafy aU this 


none Off these things ; but nfther, liitil mi 
cmfidencQ^ my miiiid is to- be. aetdedithqii Ir^Mttii 
will freely give me grace and happiness^ 
my merits or works, hut becausct of his nuw nsl . n « 

,. Thia is to cleave imto God with «L8i|K»e< 
as is here beautifully setfoith in tUt < 
poral description of the men in number fburt 
v(hOj by a fixed faith alone in God, did notdcmbii dwi 
they should be. supplied by him. Wheiea^- lipdl lliij 
judged according to the capadi^ of their reaaoo^ tdwf 
WQuld have murmured among themsdves and stadi 
* We certainly are a numerous multitude; we are in: • 
vast desert ; our bellies are empty and famishing ; and 
theve Is nothing here to satisfy our hungen' But they 
murmur not at all in this way ; they conceive a steady 
faith ; dispute not at all against God by. human iense^ 
yield themselves up entirely to the divine will; aadi 
without 0ny farther concern, commit unto hlnr Ibi 
supply of this urgent necessity of hunger. ji» 

;: . But howev^, God, before this concern comes -upon 
them, and before they begin to entreat of him,.8taBdi 
forward ; being more concerned for them tlucn they are 
foftbepuselvesj.: and he saitb, ^^ I havetCompttssioBOD 
the mi^jtitude ; and if Isend.them'away fasting, them it 
dajigerj^st they should faint by. the way." Here,'! pray 
you, behold what a God we have ! How bountiful he ii 
in goodliess towards us ! How he takes care even to feed 
oyr: impure bellies! Here the hopes of the men an 
r^i^ed, and. the words of Christ are consolatory! iiinfea 
theoif when he says,: ^ They are here, lying down and 
hiiiSe now been with, ine three days, and tlwrefore tfa^ 
ovght t9 be filled before they go away/ Here w^m^ 
S(^, that ail who cleave close to the word of God^ ass 
f^ ;0f Qod himself : for .this is the power and natope if 
fyii)^ .H'hich floweth from the word of God. * n.-Mii 

u.iWhetefot'e, my beloved, let us also b^n to believe : 
for unbelief; alone' is the parent df all the slna •aoA 
wicfLedmesse^ which at this day re^ in aU the orders of 
Qimv.'And.wby ia' i^ that, which way. soesrerijfo&^iBRft 
yilii|ii^>^yaa»me0l: with ao many.hariots .^aad whoBBH 


heaven and earth should be confouDded together, before 
God should penBit a man endowed with such a confi- 
dence as this, to suffer under the want of garments, or 
any other necessary of life. And it is such a confidence 
in God as this, that the adamantine and irrevocable 
promises of the word of God require. But if thou wilt 
bring thy reason into the matter, that will soon, like the 
apostles here, b^n to prate thus. — ^ This is impossible/ 
And ag^, ^ Thou mayest sit still lone enough, before a 
roast goose will fly into thy mouth.' And this is because 
tfaeie is no object that it can see or touch, but all things 
appear to it to be void. The same as this was the 
dis^st of the apostles. They thought thus with them- 
seives. ^ How can it come to pass that so great a mul- 
titude of men can be satisfied with food ? ' Whereas, if 
tbey had seen a large heap of gold before them, if 
tfaey had seen loaves of bread, and dishes filled with 
meat, they would have believed that the present neces- 
sity might have been supplied ; and they would have 
managed all things according to the be^t of their 
• reason. 

But let this suffice concerning faith in temporal 
good diings. — Now let us speak in respect of those spi- 
ritoal good things, whereby those who are ** ready to 
perish"' are to be supported and supplied. Here, death 
will present itself before our eyes, when we are concerned 
to live. Hell will appear, when we desire heaven. The 
judgment of God will be set before us, when we want to 
feel his saving grace. In a word, that which we want 
most to see, will be taken from our sight. And no crea- 
tore can stretch forth unto us a helping hand against 
death, hell, and the judgment of God. But when I am 
acting faith I say to myself thus. Behold ! faith is an 
iaunovable foundation ! By leaning upon this, I shall 
attain unto those things which are far removed from my 
81^: and those things. which, are immediately before 
my eyes, how horrid soever they be, shall not in the least 
hnft me, while I thus believe. Wherefore, aithongh I 
omot attain nnto any thing as yet, in sight, but dradiy 
hd, ind the jodgnept of God; yet, I am tojook «t. 



none of these things ; but rather^ with mi midiNdiCing 
coafidenco^ my mind is ta be. fletdedtd»«i^-!t4iiat!€k« 
will freely give me grace and happiness^ not baeane of 
my merits or works, but because of his paoxitB I . i- < 

, This is to cleave unto God with ^ sinoeie confidence 
as is here beautifully set forth in tUt common and eotr 
poral description of the men in number fomrthonsandi 
vifhOy by a fixed faith alone in God, did not doofaC that 
diey should be supplied by him. Whereas, had thejr 
judged according to the capacity of their reaaoo, ^Atj 
wQuld have murmured among themselves and sudi 
* We certainly are a numerous multitude ; we are in a 
vast desert ; our bellies are empty and famishing ; and 
there ib nothing here to satisfy our hunger.' But thq^ 
murmur not at all in this way ; they conceive a steadf 
faith; dispute not at all against God by human tense; 
yield themselves up entirely to the divine will; aad[ 
without finy farther concern^ commit unto htm tbe 
supply of this urgent necessity of hunger. 

,. . But however, God, before this concern comes upon 
them, and before they begin to entreat of him,. stands 
forward ; being more concerned for them thacn tfiey are 
for themselves; and he saith, *^ I have^ compassion on 
the mgltitude; and if I send. them away fasting, there b 
dajiger lest they should faint by the M^y." Here, I pray 
you, behold what a God we have ! How bountiful he ii 
in goodness towards us ! How he takes care even to feed 
our impure bellies! Here the hopes of the men are 
raided, and. the words of Christ are consdatory iiinto 
theo), when he says,; ^ They are here lying down and 
have now been with me three days, and therefore iimy 
OMght to be fi^lled before they go away/ Here w^uaj 
see, that all who cleave close to the word of God, ase 
U^ of Qod himself: for.this is the power and naUne af 
f|Mjth, which floweth from the word of God. i: : 

I, Whetefore, my beloved, let us also begiti to believe: 
for unbelief alone' is the parent Of all the sina •aoA 
wickednesses which at this day reign in all the orders of 
mmt »And.why ia i^ that, which way. soever yon innt 
jWaM^t'^ywuniieet: with ao many, hariots .and whona 


mongers;; rach a multitude of impostors and flatterers; 
so many thieveik robbersj^ usurers, and murderers? .It is 
nabelief in God that produces all these : because, men 
of this stamp, judge only according to human reason : 
anc) reason looks only to that which is present : but that 
which is out of sight, it cannot receive. And therefore, 
as it puts not its trust in God by faith, it must despair 
by trusting in itself: from which despair, there after-* 
wards comes forth such a class of abandoned wretches 
as we aee. And hence, as you see, when we commit the 
reinSy not to fiuth, but to our own reason, we are driven 
airay from the right path. 

And now, as you have learnt what faith is, so now 
jou must learn what love is. For Christ is set before us 
in a twofold point of view. The one, of faith ; that we 
mig^t not be too careful. The other, of love ; whereby 
we may learn, that as he takes care of us in supplying 
n^ with meat, drink, and raiment, and that with a free 
love, not with a view to his own profit, nor as a reward 
for our merits ; so we ought to shew every kindness to 
oar neighbour, and that gratuitously from an impulse of 
knre only. And, in a word, that as Christ is toward us, 
so we should be a kind of Christ to our neighbour. 

Hence we may learn, that all the works both of 
diose he-monks and she-monks are both vain and 
le ; seeing that, they are not done to the end 
d^t they may serve their neighbour, but that they may 
dineby deserve tlie favour of Ciod, for their own bene?* 
II. Whereas, ,the works of Christians whereby they 
fpald please God, are to he done only with a view to 
ijggi neighbour's protit, but not with a view that they 
thereby obtain great favour from God, and set off 
'ves. All gifts are to be given indiscriminately 
^, bountiful lutnd, and, as it were, to be thrown 
i^rmk that any may take them : as God does, who freely 
Mtters and throws down his doctrine, the word and 
tfemal life, before the promiscuous multitude. And 
Mmtd are they who embrace this gift with a grateful 

Uttse thingi I say that ye may see, that the whole 


trospel tends to and requires, and that God also espe- 
cially demands, this one thing, — that we devote our^ 
selves entirely to the service of our neighbour, and so 
serve God ; as the prophet saith. Psalm 1. *^ Hear, O 
my people, I am God, even thy God. I will not re- 
prove thee for thy sacrifices, (for all that thou hast or 
canst offer unto me was first mine.) For every beast of 
the forest is mine, and so are the cattle upon a thousand 
hills. Thinkest thou that I will eat the flesh of bulls, or 
drink the blood of goats ?" &c. And thus also he speaks 
unto us, * Behold, O Israel, I am a God to thee, and 
not thou to me. I will give unto thee, but thou canst 
give nothing unto me. Hear, O Israel, I w\\l not be 
wrath with thee because thou dost not load me with 
many sacrifices : for whatever is in thy stalls or in thy 
folds, is mine: and it was I that gave them into thy 
folds/ Here however he rebukes Uie Jews, who pride 
themselves so much upon their sacrifices. As, therefore, 
he thus rejects their sacrifices, what does he wish to be 
substituted in their stead ? Truly, that which follows in 
the same prophet ; " Offer unto God thanksgiving, and 
pay thy vows unto the Most High," &c. That is, 1 will 
have thine heart. Offer unto me thyself. Embrace me 
as a merciful and atoning God, and as thy God; and 
then, 1 shall be satisfied ! 

Wherefore hold thy faith in confidence and hope, 
and thou shalt have him an indulgent God : cleave only 
unto him, and, in extreme perils, flee only unto him as 
unto a holy anchor. Believe, venture a reliance upon 
him, and risk all upon that reliance. Hold it fiist, and 
doubt not, and he will be a refuge for thee. And, wheo 
thou hast done this, then serve thy neighbour with a free 
and willing mind. Believe, I say. Commit tbyaetf 
wholly unto God, and expect his aid with an unhaltii^ 
mind, and he will help thee. The truth of God will, to 
all eternity, be consistent with itself, Psalm cxv. 





He that corncth ufito Gad must believe, §r- 

cm may find many men, who, it* they ex e not 

external help and comtbrt from Gucl, immcu ;*.„,, iluuk 

thfit it is ail over with ttietn m to their fialvation, and 

that ihey are utterly iorgotten of God. The n^isou of 

vlii^ is thi««^ — Men of this kiod »eek notliiog but tlicii 

own, and do not commit themselves wholly to the mere 

§ood-mll of God* And such mea as tliese, do ooi go 

on the straight road to happiness wttlxout looking aside 

ittlD different paths m they ga Tliey are not alwayii in 

the Mme mind, niiether they abound or whether they 

aofier and endure want^ esteeming alike poverty and 

mallh ; ad Paul did, who, (Philip, iv.) saith, ** I have 

ievBed iM^th to abound and to bUtler need/' Uut they 

ioetiiale to and fro. They praise God, and endeavour 

to please him by their works, aa long as he bestows be- 

9S6h apoQ them: as the divine Psalmiit aaith, Pk xJix. 

li, *' Nfen will praise thee, nhile tlion do9»i good uirto 

tiiem/* Hut as aoon as God hideth iiimsclf in order to 

tiy tbem a little, wliether or not they will serve him and 

Mieve in him, the moment tliese external ailvauta^s 

wmd delights are taken away, and be thus withdraws tor 

a time the rayn of his j^oodness, and leaves them to 

their own naked opinion, and destitute of all things; 

Aen^ an anwilKngness eeizea their minds to «^rve God 

«qr longer, and their loire, llieir praise, and whote of 

2 E 


their worship of God, is frozen up together. And such 
characters as these, are exposed to the greatest perils : 
and for this reason. — Since they serve God for external 
advantage only, when he will no longer give them any 
thing, (and that justly, seeing that he owes them nothing,) 
then comes in upon them an evil spirit, and takes away 
their faith; and then, they begin to doubt whether or 
not they shall be saved ; seeing that, they no longer re- 
ceive any comfort from God in their troubles. And 
when they begin to doubt of this^ then the devil has the 
victory in his own hands, how many works soever of a 
splendid show they may perform. For the apostle 
James, in the first chapter of his Epistle, saith, " Let 
not him that doubteth, think that he shall receive any 
thing of the Lord." This Satan well knows, and there- 
fore he plies all his arts to accomplish this one thing, — ■ 
to extinguish fdth ; and when he has done this, he cares 
not what works are done afterwards without faith, how 
great and excellent soever they may be. For where 
faith is wanting, there is nothing but darkness and a 
vain worship of God; even though you should wear 
yourself out even unto death by singing, or making a 
noise and howling. And yet, although these things are 
certain, yet will these men prefer these their works unto 
faith. But however, none but stupid gDphists do this. 


Now, even as these above-mentioned characters 
have a regard unto their private advantage only in all 
that they do ; and do not, as they ought, set God before 
them in all their ways as their only object; so, these 
following characters, in whatever they do or leave un- 
done, seek the honour of God only, and not their own 
advantage. And this is a kind of opposite distincticm* 
These latter are content with this only: — their knowing 
that God is good. And they cleave immovably to hka 
alone, and to no created thing whatever; constantly re- 
maining the same, which way soever their lot may tum« 
They love God and extol his goodness with praises as 
much when God deprives them of all those external 


sopplies, as they do vvhea he abundantly bestows these 
tfak^ upon them* They do not trust to their own 
works and to themselves when they are in possession of 
these things, nor, on the other hand, do they distrust 
God, when tliey are taken away. In what state s^jever 
they may be, they give themselves up to the g<:K)d-wili 
of God; so that they can from their heart and inmost 
soul say, * My Lord, and my most gracious Father ! I 
htkv^ no will of my own, either to be or not to be, to live 
or to die, to know or not to know, to have or not to 
have; — ihy will alone be done! I want not thine, but 
THKE thyself; Thou art not more dear unto me when ail 
my afiairs go well, nor art thou less dear to me w hen 
they go ill ! It is just and right that thou shouldst op- 
pose me, for thy powder is as well above me as over me, 
bttt I have no right over thee!* — Now whan a man 
descends thus deeply into himself, it will follow, that he 
will not dare to ask any thing of God, but that which he 
believes is to be given unto him as a tree gift, and with* 
out any merit of his own: he will hold himself unworthy 
of all those tilings which Clod freely bestows upon him : 
and be will be persuaded, that all his words and works 
are, before God, nothing but mere folly and sin. 

Men of this kind render tlie whole kingdom of 
Salao very narrow, nor can any thing whatever hurt 
diCBi, because they stanil by God alone more im- 
ttovabiy than the Alarpesian rock, leaning on him by 
ileady faith. They ward off all the temptations which 
ht levels against them, by faith, as with a shield, 
whereby all of lliem are overcome, as it is written 
'lebrews xi. And they are in truth real Christians and 
ike aoiis of God, wlio are thus led by the Holy Spirit, as 
Kuil testifies, Rom. viii. : for they seek not their own 
will, but follow on to do the eternal will of their Father 
who 13 in heaven : whom they serve, not to the end that 
he Blight give unto them heaven and temporal advan- 
ttees, bat on tliis account only, — -because he is the 
nttt and ever blessed God! And tlierefore, if tliey 
Ww for certainty that Uiere were no heaven, no hell, 
Qc» fccompense of reward, yet would they nevertheless 

i hi 


be prepared to worship God, and that for God's sake 
only.-— But in these matters, many men have not a right 

Wherefore, we will here speak a little upon th^se 
things: in order that the minds of men may be the 
more conveniently formed unto those paradoxes which 
y^e have just set forth. 

Faith teaches us two thin^ which the apostle Paul, 
Heb. xi. set^ forth thus, "lie that corneal unto God 
must believe that he is God, and that he is the rcwarder 
of them that from their heart seek him." First, when 
Paul saith, " must believe that he is God,'^ he strikes at 
the root of all pride, presumption, rashness, boasting, 
and false confidence, either in himself or in any other 
creature, and extols the one true God as omnipotent 
It is easily said that " God is," but to live a life folly 
corresponding with that saying, is hard indeed ! Upon 
this one point, " God is," rests the whole foundation of 
faith. For if there were no God, all the sorrows, tfie 
trials, the faith, and whatever pertains unto Christians, 
would be altogether vain and a thing of nought. There 
would be even no distinction between Gentiles, Jews, 
and Christians: and that would be altogether con- 
trary to the scripture and to Paul, who distinguishes 
ns who have faith from every thing that is destitute of 
faith, when he says, '^ He that "cometh unto God, must 
brieve that he is," &c. 

Moreover, the scripture commands, that all should 
refrain from the name of God, and not rashly meddle 
with it; much less therefore will it permit any one to ar- 
rogate it to himself, as the devil dared to do, Isaiah xiv.; 
who, assuming to himself the honour due unto God, de- 
sired to make himself equal unto the Most High. And 
if all are to refrain from touching the name of God, and 
no one is to arrogate it unto himself, then must he also 
refrain from those things which are God's, and which 
proceed from God, and not assume any of them unto 
himself For God saith, Job xli., * All things under the 
heavens are mine.' If therefore all things are God's, 
nothing belongs to any man, nor to any other creatum. 



J if any man ascribe any tiling to himself, and 
dOQOtlu^kitDwledge that all things here upon earth, how 
iOiaU and triJlrng soever tliey may be, are received from 
God» but wishes himself to be somethings and to attri* 
bote fiemething to himself, that man robs God of his 
gloiy, his creatures, and his omnipotence, and arrogates 
to himself that, whereby he profanes the name of God. 
Wherefore^ since the apostle Paul and the scripture 
i^ that we must believe that ** God is," the same 
iB06t holy scripture and faith constrain and compel m 
to confess, that there is a Most High above us, with- 
out whose power, we have not the ability to f)erform 
any good whatever, be it never so small ; that he alone 
gives as all Uie po%ver wliereby vie do any one good 
vork or avoid any one evil ; that we are all poor, weak, 
Mii&etuble creature?*, lilled Mith sin, wickedness, and a 
Mnk of every evil ; and that all our works are not Indeed 
ours^ but God s only, as Paul saith, Kphes. iii. " It is 
God only that worketh all in all ;" and therefore, the 
works of all creatures are the works of God. And as the 
same Paul saith, S Cor* iii. ** We are not sufficient of our- 
selves to think any thing as of ourselves, but all our suf- 
fideoey is of G*xl :" to \ihom all power, all ability, all 
niadoiD, and, in a word, all ttie works of all creatures, 
are to be ascribed. Hence, whether we will or no, we 
era compelled to confe^is that weakness and naked- 
aefia, to which, according to Paul, Horn* viii* we are all 
mbjecl ; and to be content %vith that mercy and good- 
irffl of God, whereby he has drawn us unlo his grace. 

Here, all jjowcr and boasting of mim is brought to 
ll^ic ground, that he might glory in no oue thing else hut 
in tlie Lord; as Paul saith, 1 Cor. i. 31, *' He that 
glorieth let him glorj* in the Lord." Thou canfut boast 
k nothing whatever in thyself, (even if thou perform 
ewy work lliat can be performed,) but that thou art a 
limeT* Hence therefore, if a man believe that *' God 
a,^ without whom all pur most devoted endeavours are 
viiD, he is driven to despair in himself ; and not being 
ihle to find refuge in any creatures, he buildeth himself 
QpoQ ifavt one God only who is Almighty ; an<i relying 


steadily upon him, he stands fast undiomayed, placing 
implicitly all his comfort, his hope, his faith, his confi- 
dence, his whole refuge in him alone. He expects no 
good, no grace, no help from any one but from this one 
God only. And thus, without any word of his own, he 
is made and preserved a good man by faith only. 

Hence it is collected, that faith is nothing more or 
less than a solid foundation for those things which are 
promised us of God : by which faith, God himself, and 
'whatever is beyond the human capacity and apprehen- 
sion, are known. And he who has received this anoint- 
ing, attributes nothing whatever to the works of himself 
or of any other creature, but ascribes all to the works 
and undertakings of Christ; being fully persuaded, that 
a man is made righteous only by Christ's having fulfilled 
for him, and in his stead, all those things which are ne- 
cessary to his attainment unto happiness ; and that no- 
thing whatever proceeds from his own merit, (which is 
nothing at all,) but from Christ; through whom, all 
things both in heaven and earth are reconciled unto 
them who have made peace with God through the 
blood of his cross, as Paul saith, Colos. i. A man 
endued with a faith like this, rests on a foundation so 
solid and so deep, that no evil spirit, no man, no angel, 
nor even his own conscience, can ever disturb him. — 
And, more especially, in the approaching hour of death, 
when a man has most need to commit himself wholly 
unto Christ and to his most holy word and promises, do 
thou rest on what God has promised with a lively and 
steadily-relying mind ; for, as he " keepeth his pro- 
mises for ever," we have no room to doubt that he will 
of his grace perform whatever he has promised to do, 
even though Satan and his mother (as our people say) 
should vent their rage against the Gospel, even till thq^ 
have wasted themselves to death. 

But here, the wise ones of this world use this D»da- 
lean and super-christian argumept, whereby they con- 
demn all of heresy. * These holy faith-praisers, (say they) 
inculcate among the people nothing but faith, and 
utterly pass over in silence all good works. Well ! (they 

Si^) if faith alone be saflicient, then the devtl hinnself 
will be saved : for he believes that ** Gcxl is/' and that 
he rewards all that do good works, and that seek him. 
And be believes too thai God became man, and suf- 
fered death upon the crass/ &c- — We answer : We de- 
aaie sttch^ not to permit this very great and deep wis- 
dom of theirs to raise indignation in their minds. For 
we also know it very well to be true» that the devil does 
believe all these things. But we call upon you, ye very 
wise ones, to tell us, — ^Does the devil believe that Gml 
is God and Lord unto him for his salvation ? that he is 
a rewarder of his good works ? that he was made man, 
enscified, dead, and buried for himf Here all their 
mouths are stopped \ And be they as many vls they 
may, ihey are compelled to answer in the negative, and 
caQDOt wA one iota of the scripture to bring against 
IIS. \n>erefore, it is not enough to believe that " fio<l 
b^*^ thai Christ suiTered death, and all those things. But 
thim must conceive an undoubting faith, that God is 
God Doto thee for thy salvation ! That Christ underwent 
iojiines, death, and the cross, and rose again for thee! 
and that therefore, thy sins are transferred to him, as it 
was foretold by the prophet, Isaiah liii* The devil has 
00 faith whatever of tliis kind ! — Therefore, their whole 
argument falls to the ground ! 

When, therefore, faith is exalted above works, it is 
on this account. — A man, before he can do any work 
lliat is good, must tirst be justilied ; before that, he can 
do nothing good ; for that word of Paul, Rom, xiv. is 
troth incontrovertible, *' Whatsoever is not of faith is 
^i:/' ^foreover, this justification is by faith only; for 
kith is the beginning thereof ; wliich takes place thus, 
—When God promises any thing to him ** that believeth 
md is baptized,'' Murk xvi,, that man immediately 
takes hold of tliat [»romise, knows it to be sure, and di* 
lecls all the powers of his mind unto it; firmly be- 
limnjy that it was set before him of God for bis good ; 
iiod upon this oracle of God he so builds his mind, as 
la doubt not at all that it will Ix^ fullilled ; knowing, 
Ihat if he bring it into a doubt, it is all over with himi afl 


steadily upon him/ he stands fast undunbaved, (riadug 
implicitly all his comfort, his hope, his fidtn, his confi* 
dence, his whole refuge in him alone. He expects no 
good, no grace, no help from any one but firom this one 
God only. And thus, without any word of fais own, k 
is made and preserved a good man by fieath only. 

Hence it is collected, that faith is notUng more or 
less than a solid foundation for those things whidi are 
promised us of God : by which faith, God himsdf, and 
whatever is beyond the human capacity and apprtbeii^ 
sion, are known. And he who has received this ancwt- 
ing, attributes nothing whatever to the works of himself 
or of any other creature, but ascribes all to the worb 
and undertakings of Christ ; being fully persuaded, that 
a man is made righteous only by Christ's havinc fulfilled 
for him, and in his stead, all those things whi<^ are ne- 
cessary to his attainment unto happiness ; and that no- 
thing whatever proceeds from his own merit, (which n 
nothing at all,) but from Christ; through whom, all 
things both in heaven and earth are reconciled unto 
them who have made peace with God through the 
blood of his cross, as Paul saith, Colos. i. A man 
endued with a faith like this, rests on a foundation so 
solid and so deep, that no evil spirit, no man, Ao angel, 
nor even his own conscience, can ever disturb him.— 
And, more especially, in the approaching hour of death, 
when a man has most need to commit himself wholly 
unto Christ and to his most holy word and promises, do 
thou rest on what God has promised with a lively and 
steadily-relying mind ; for, as he " keepeth his pro- 
mises for fever," we have no room to doubt that he will 
of bis grace perform whatever he has promised to do, 
even though Satan and his mother (as our people saj) 
should vent their rage against the Gospel, even till di^ 
have wasted themselves to death. 

But here, the wise ones of this world use this Dsda- 
lean and super-christian argumept, whereby they con- 
demn all of heresy. ^ These holy faith-praisers, (say they) 
inculcate among tlie people nothing but faith, and 
utterly pass over in silence all good works. Well ! (they 

i Know n very wen foTO"niiertRaf TfieTre^l "Ooes" 
'e all these things. But we call upon you, ye very 
anes, to tell us, — Does the devil believe that God 
>d and Lord unto him for his salvation ? that he is 
arder of his good works ? that he was nnade man, 
ied, dead, and buried for him? Here all their 
hs are stopped ! And be they as many as they 
they are compelled to answer in the negative, and 
>i find one iota of the scripture to bring against 
Fherefore, it is not enough to believe that ** God 
mi Clirist sutfered death, and all those things. But 
■tost conceive an undoubting faith, that God is 
Sftto ihee for thy salvation ! That Christ underwent 
Bs, death, and the cross, and rose again for ihee! 
bat therefore, tliy sins are transferred to liim, as it 
oretold by the prophet, Isaiah liii. The devil has 
ith whatever of this kind !— Therefore, their whole 
lent falls to the ground ! 

^hen, therefore, faith is exalted above works, it is 
m account. — A man, before he can do any work 
kgood, must first be justified ; before that, he can 
wng good ; for that word of Paul, Rom. xiv. is 
uncontrovertible, '' Whatsoever is not of faith is 

I^Ioreover, this justification is by faith only; for 
is the beginning thereof ; which takes place thus, 
len God promises any thing to him '* that bclieveth 


has been obaerved before. Id this way this man rests on 
God ; undoubtingly believing, that God, as he has thus 
gratuitously bound .himself unto us by his promises^ will 
of grace be faithful to those promises. — By this faiths the 
man is justified, as Paul saith, Gal. liL concerning AiN&* 
ham, ^' Abraham believed in God, and it was counted 
to him for righteousness." God does not so much r^axd 
what great works we do, but always looks at our faith, 
how great that is. Between works there is no difference 
in the sight of God; those which appear great, and 
those which appear small unto us, are, in his sight, 
all alike. 

It is the nature of Heathens to judge according to 
works, but of Christians to look at, and judge according 
to &ith. Where faith is great, works will be great ; but 
if faith be weak, works will be small. Such as faith is, 
such ever will works be. For Christ saith in his Gospel, 
Matt. ix. '^ According to your faith, it shall be unto 
you." Hence a man will not be considered either 
ri^teous or ungodly accordingly as he has wrought 
much or little ; all things are decided according to the 
rule of faith ; as saith the prophet,' " Thine eyes, O 
Lord God, are upon them that are of faith in the 
earth." It is faith that hath efficacy, not works. The 
wise ones of the world lie, therefore, when they say, 
that we set aside works by exalting faith above them, 
and above merit. For wheresoever there is genuine 
faith, its fruits will, as a certain consequence, follow : 
namely, the love of God and of our neighbour. For it is 
impossible that true and undissembled faith should not 
shew forth its fruits and works. This, nevertheless, is 
truth ; — that a man must be first righteous, before he 
can do any good work ; and that, this righteousness is 
by faith only. From these things therefore it plainly 
appears, in what sense it is to be understood, when it is 
said, that faith sufficeth without works. And may God 
grant, that the wise ones of the world, may at length 
. attain unto that faith ! Amen ! 

But, in the second place, Paul saith, Heb. xi. thai 
we must believe, not only that '* God is/' but that " he 


19 the rewarder of them that dih'gently seek him.'* Here 
the wise of this world would drive the children of the 
kingdom too much aside from the right road, and would 
torn diem into mercenaries and slaves, and make them 
to seek after God, not with a view to his mere goodness, 
bot to the attainment of the joys of heaven. For these 
sharp-sighted instructors wouM know, by means of these 
invented and deeply subtle questions, how great, how 
exalting, and how manifold those Joys are with which 
God will fill men. And also, how deep, how wide, and 
how long hell is; how horrible and terrible the devil is; 
how long his nose is; and with what kind of a maul it is 
that he breaks and bruises souls. They would set these 
diings before our eyes as painters. And many other 
questions of the same kind do they agitate thus in 
vanity. And, in a word, such as are th^ their ques- 
^lOfos and conclusions, such also are all their sermons: 
die head, tail, and carcass of which, are all fables: and 
this they call, preaching the Gospel. In this way they 
strike such fear into the people, as to make the children 
of Ae kingdom fear hell, purgatory, and the devil. And 
they teach them, in what way they are to avoid these 
dungs by their works, and to get themselves numbered 
among the blessed. Thus, they exalt the gift above the 
giver, and heaven obove God! And signify, that if there 
were no hell and heaven set before us, and no hope of 
reward from the hand of God, we ought neither to love 
him nor praise him for his benefits. 

But this, is not to seek God with pure affection, but 
with a view to our own private advantage. But our wise 
disputers of this world have here also their sul)tle re- 
fuges, and elude us thus. — That God is indeed to be 
sou^t as the primary object, but, next to him, his 
formal blessedness^ (as they term it,) by which they 
mean joy, pleasure, and sweetness; which are, as it 
were, attendants on the knowledge of God. As though 
it were not enough, that we seek God only in sincerity, 
but there must be a receiving of a reward or hire also, as 
mercenaries are paid by their employers. But let all true 
Christians beware of these old wives fables of the dispu- 


ters of this world, which have no scripture whatever for 
their authority, for by such they are drawn away from 
the purity of faith. 

•What Christians ought to know is, that as God 
serves us of mere grace without any respect to our 
works, Rom. viii.; even so we on the other hand, 
ought to seek God, without any view to a reward, but 
wi3i an eye to his goodness only; seeking no one thing 
else but his mere good-will. He requires nothing more 
whatever of thee, but that thou believe; as Paul here 
eaith, " He that cometh unto God must believe." And 
what must he believe?— That God is the rewarder! Of 
whom? — Of those who seek him in faith! but not of 
those who seek God for his joy and blessedness, as the 
reward of their works! Be not thou concerned about 
the reward ; that thou shalt have in due time, even if 
thou be not so eager after it. For although it is impos- 
sible that the reward should not come to «them, who 
worship God with a pure and true heart without any 
consideration of gain or wages; yet, certain it is, that 
God hates those mercenary characters, who seek them- 
selves and not God, and will never give them any re- 
ward at all. So also the son serves his father duly and 
spontaneously, as being the heir, and because he knows 
it to be pleasing to his father and agreeable to his will. 
Wheresis if the son should be obedient to the father with 
an eye to the inheritance and the property only, he would 
highly deserve to be disinherited, and it would be right 
were he to be deprived of the lawful inheritance. Mat- 
ters are the same between God and us, with respect to 
our attaining unto eternal happiness. — God is not the 
rewarder of our works according to our merit, but ac- 
cording to his own promises: wherein'he hath promised, 
that he will reward our works, but, of mere grace: as in 
Gen. XV. " I am thy shield and thy exceeding great 
reward ! " And may he be that unto us, to all eternity 1 




LUKE Xvi. 

Hitherto we have heard, in the Gospels, various 
examples both of faith and of love. For their peculiar 
and perpetual scope is, to set before us continual repre- 
sentations of faith and love. Wherefore, I hope by this 
time you know full well, that no one can be accepted of 
God bat he that is received on the grounds of faith and 
love. In the present Gospel, however, the Lord has set 
before us an example of faith and of ungodliness at the 
same time: that by looking at this representation of 
ungodliness, as opposite to that of faith and love, we may 
be rendered more willing to abhor the former, and cleave 
onto the latter. 

We may here see the judgment of God, as displayed 
both towards the believing, and the unbelieving; a view 
both dreadful and consoling ; — dreadful to the ungodly, 
bat consoling to those that are anointed with faith. But 
however, that the subject may be the more easily re- 
ceived into our minds, the description both of that rich 
man and of the poor Lazarus, must be set before our 
eyes; and from that description, we must learn on the 
one hand the nature of unbelief, and on the other the 
nature of faith. We will divide, therefore, the Exposi- 
tion of this Gospel into three parts. 


This rich man is not to be considered by us as to his 
external life, for he is covered with a sheep's clothing; 
and if you look at his life, he appears to be a man of 


great worthiness; though, in truth, he craftily conceals 
a wolf under the covering of a sheep. For he is not in 
the Gospel accused of adultery, of murder, of robbery, 
of violence, or as having even designed any such thing as 
may be condemned by the lowest rabble or by common 
sense. Because, he had an outside show of a very good 
life; such as that pharisee boasted of, who glori^ in 
himself that he fasted twice in a week, and was not as 
other men. If he had fallen into any of those foul sins, 
the Gospel would certainly not have been silent about 
tbem; seeing that, it speaks of him in other respects so 
particularly, that it even reproves his purple raiment 
and sumptuous fare, although these are but certain me- 
diate and external things, according to which God does 
not judge. Wherefore, we must conclude, that be 
carried outwardly a sort of decorous and holy con- 
versation; -and so much so, that he seemed both to 
himself and to others, to fulfil the law of Moses. 

But we are the rather to look into his heart, and 
judge of his spirit. For the Gospel has the eyes of a 
lynx, penetrating into the secret recesses of the heart, 
and reproving those things which are approved by 
human nature. It beholds not the sheep's clothing only, 
but looks at the real fruits of the tree; and judges from 
them, whether the tree be good or evil; as the Lord 
teaches, Matt. xvii. Wherefore, if we judge of this rich 
man according to the fruits of faith, we ^all find, that 
both the heart and the tree are corrupt by unbelief. For 
the Gospel declares this to be his sin, that he daily fed 
his body magnificently and sumptuously, and clothed 
himself luxuriously and splendidly : and these are things 
that reason never considers to be heinous sins. Jasti** 
ciaries even approve such a way of living, and deem 
themselves worthy of it, as having merited it by their 
holiness of life. But they see not all the white, that th^ 
are, while wallowing in these things, in unbelief. This 
rich man, however, is not condemned because he thus 
indulged in this sumptuous fare and splendid raiment; 
(for many holy kings and queens were, in old time, 
adorned in royal apparel, as Solomon, Esther, David, 



DUMJelt and others ;) but because his heart wm taken 

irith, and went after those things, and his ^.iihstanre woi 

fpeal upon tbem ; and because he sought all his joy, 

pioLMte^ and comfort from these things ; and, in fact, 

oiade them his idols. For Christ by tliis expression 

erery day/' signifieB, that he was seen continiialty 

wallowing in this sumptuous fare and purple and fmt 

fioeii. ^\^^ence we may conclude, thai he sought after stirh 

a manner of life studinu*^ly, and with a certain delight; 

and that he chose it without being: compelled into it by 

force or accident, or by any ofl' ' ' : or, 

that he desired to adopt such a ; ;t he 

might serve his neighbour; but merely, that he might 

himself, aiKJ indulge his appetites for his own 

Here, therefore, is brought to li^t the hidden sin 

Aiat lay lurking in the secret r . of his heart: 

naoiely, unbelief! This was the i it produced such 

fttnt* For Inith cannot tn the least endure this luxury of 

laJBient^ and t' incitements of the apj^lite l)y made- 

dahes ; and rc\ it most determinately des|ii!^es 

riches, honour, pIriMr and [K>wer; and, in a word, all 

those things which are out of God, It sei*ks nothing, it 

comrtves for nothing, it follows after nothing, but God 

only; whom it considers to be the chief good* It is 

rate tndifierent about all food, whether it be the mo^t 

Miciom or the most plain. It esteems the finest linen, 

iod the coarsest cloth, both alike. And if it ever 

happens, that those who fear God are clothed in rich 

and ooatly garments, and are raised to great power and 

benoar, yet, they set no value u|K>n those things, but 

enter upon them by constraint and unwillingly ; and 

tbey either come into such a station of life unexpectedly, 

or to a certainty do it with a view* to others ; as is ex* 

emplihed in queen Esther, who said that she bore the 

ftiyal crown against her will ; but was yet, compelled to 

bear this ensign of royalty, because of the King, So 

David w^ould rather have lived a private life among his 

people; but, in obedience to the nill of Crod, and for 

the good of the people, he undertook the charge of go- 


veming the kingdom. In the same manner, all the saints 
are raised to high stations of power and honour by con- 
straint, and remain all the while with their hearts onen- 
tangled by them : for in their stations of external power, 
they consult only the benefit of their neighbour : aa it is 
written. Psalm xc. ^^ If riches increase, set not your 
heart upon them ! " 

Bu^ where a man is destitute of faith, his heart 
goes after these vanities of the world ; they fill his 
Uioughts, and he continues to seek them, wd never 
rests till he has got them ; and as soon as ever he has 
gained his heart's desire, he begins to feed himself like a 
hog, and wallows in this mire; he crams his belly, and 
places all his happiness therein; he is quite unconcerned 
ho\y it is between God and his heart, and never dreams 
of considering what hope and expectation he has from 
him, for his belly is his only god. But when he does not 
get those things which he wants, then he begins to think 
that all is not right. Thus you see, this rich man does not 
perceive these abominable fruits of unbelief, he casts a 
covering over all, and so blinds his own eyes by his Pha- 
risaical works and life, that he at last becomes quite 
hardened and caltous, and his ears are shut against all 
doctrine, all admonition, all threatenings, and finally, 
against all promises. Behold, this is that secret sin 
which is reproved and condemned by the Gospel. 

And now, there follows another sin. Love towards 
his neighbour is utterly forgotten by him. This rich maa 
utterly despises the poor needy Lazarus that lies at his 
gate. And, although he thought it beneath him to help 
such an one with his own hands, yet, he ought to have 
remembered him, and to have enjoined his servants to 
take him in, and take care of him. But he does none of 
these things ; and that, because he understood nothiqg 
of God, and never had one true taste of his goodness, 
for he that has really felt the goodness of God, that 
man will be touched with the calamity of his neighbour.. 
But, if he be in a state of hatred against God, so will he 
be disgusted with his neighbour also. For faith is of that 
nature, that all its expectation of good is from God ; ia 

turn oaly it places all its hopes. By this faith, the 
man now knows God :• — how good and merciful he is : 
by which knowledge, by-and-by liis heart grows soft, 
and is so touched with a feeling of mercy, that he is 
imdy to impart that unto all which he feels he has 
rccei\'ed of God, Therefore, he breaks fordi into love, 
and serves his neighbour with all his heart, wholly de- 
votiDgbis body, his life, his wealth, liis honour, his soul, 
aad his spirit to his neighbour's benefit ; and making liim 
partaker of all that he has, just as God has dealt with 
him, ^\lierefore, he does not turn his eyes upon them 
that are well to do, upon the high in station, upon the 
powerful, the rich, the noble, the holy among men, who 
»t want his help; but rather, upon tlie sick, the 
iiig, the poor, the despised, and those that are la- 
booruig under the plague of sin ; whom it is in his 
power to help, by exercising his softened heart in render- 
ing them his assistance, and by shewing himself such to- 
wmrd ihetn, as God has shewn himself towards him by 
ibedding abroad upon him all his benefits. 

On the contrary, the nature of unbelief is this.— It 
altogether distrusts God, lly which distrust, the heart 
is ' '' ' (I and rendered so insensible, that it cannot 
ai', ^d how bountiful and merciful God is; as it 

is written in the 13th Psalm; '' they know not God/' 
Afterwards, by this blindness, the heart grows so 
hard, that such a man remains with a heart as hard as 
bora, and without any touch of mercy whatever: he be- 
comes utterly a hater of mankind, and devoid of natural 
and human feeling ; and more inclined to do his neigh- 
tioar a hurt, than so to help him as to please him. For 
as be is insensible to the goodness of God, so he can 
feel no pleasure in doing good to his neighbour. And 
then the consequence is, that he does not direct his eyes 
to the sick, the needy, and to poor miserable creatures 
that are exposed to contempt, to whom he might be, 
and ought to be, serviceable and useful ; but lifts up his 
^es on high, and seeks after that which is exalted, ricK 
Udd powerful ; from whence there may fall to him some 
advantage^ profit, pleasure, or honour. 


The example of this rich man, is a proof to ns, thai 
it is impossible that he who is destitute of faith should 
love his neighbour. And so, on the opposite, that it is 
impossible that he who is destitute of the affections of 
love, should be a bdiever. These two things will ever be 
united together in an indissoluble bond. He that is 
anointed with faith, loves all alike, and stands readj as 
a kind of common servant to wait on all. On the other 
hand, he that is destitute of faith hates all in his heart, 
and wants rather to be served by all ; so far is he from 
being ready to serve all others. And although he be 
lying under these enormous sins, yet, he imagines that 
he so covers them, by his hypocrisy, with holy and spe- 
cious works, as with a sheep's skin, that he is just like 
that vast bird the ostrich, which, when it has put its 
head into a bush is so stupid as to think that its whole 
body is concealed. And hence we may see, that nothmg 
is more blind, nothing more destitute of mercy, than a 
man devoid of faith. For dogs, which are the most iras- 
cible of all animals, seem to have a greater feeling of 
mercy towards this poor Lazarus, than this rich^ man 
has. These seem to behold his poverty, for they lick his 
sores ; while that blind and obstinately hardened hypo- 
crite is so merciless, that he will not give the poor fa- 
mishing Lazarus so much as the crumbs that fall from 
his table. 

Like unto this rich hypocrite are all unbelievers, 
whom unbelief will not permit to be, and to do, other- 
wise than this rich man is said to have done, who is set 
before us as an example of all such. And, exactly like 
this man, are all those of our day whom they call spiri- 
tual, and that is manifest to every one. These never can 
perform any really good work. All their desires are di- 
rected to live the life of Epicures, serving no one, and 
doing a kindness to no one. Nay, utterly reversing the 
whole matt<»r, they think it just and right that they 
should be served by all. Like harpies, they claw all 
things to themselves, and, according to the old adage, 
< Rob the poor of his purse.' They are nothing moved 
at the poverty of others, and only think how they can 


live jovially themselves. And even if some of them have 
not a luxurious profusion of raiment and food, yet ne- 
vertheless, they have luxurious hearts and desires. And 
such as these are sought for by those Midases of ours, 
our princes, and others who have immense fortunes, who 
do many great works in hypocrisy; building temples, 
and raising grand structures for I know not what insti- 
tutions; with which gaudy outside show, they basely 
conceal their iniquity, and their wolf of incredulity; 
until their hearts become so callous, that they lose every 
kind of natural affection for all mankind, and live like 
so many Timons. 


And now, we are not to judge of this miserable and 

afflicted Lazarus, according to that outward appearance 

wherein he appears so deformed; we are not to look at 

lus sores only, and his poverty and wretchedness; for 

you may find many men equally poor and wretched, 

and yet are nothing the better for it King Herod 

was eaten up with the most dreadful disease of putrid 

consumption; but yet, he was not on that account 

one straw the better in God's esteem. Poverty and 

bodUy disease gain no one favour with God. But, he 

who was before accepted of God, his poverty and pain 

are precious in the sisht of God, as the 1 l6th Psalm testi- 

6eSj '^ Precious in me sight of the Lord is the death of 

bis saints.*" Hence therefore, we are to look into the 

heart of this poor Lazarus: in which, tliat treasure is 

hidden which made his sores of such great price in the 

sight of God. This treasure was faith and love. For 

^rithout fttith, no one can please God, Heb. xi. Where- 

fore, his heart was in that state, that, in the midst of 

these calamities and afflictions, he conceived a steady 

eoofidence in God; and, with an immovable mind, 

put himself wholly into the hands of his goodness. In 

doing which, he was so de[)endent and contented, that 

he was prepared to endure more and greater pains, if it 

ihould seem good to his merciful Goo. 

This is true and living faith; whereby, through the 

S F 


knowledge of the goodness of God, the heart becomes 
so broken and softened, that nothing can be enjoined so 
great and so arduous, which it would not be ready to 
undertake and to accomplish with fortitude. To such a 
degree does faith fortify the heart, if a man have bat a 
ifeeling sense of ^ the goodness and grace of God! And 
moreover, another grace accompanies this faith : namely, 
^he love of our neighbour: so that, the man has a willing 
inclination of mind to serve all men. But because he is 
in want of all things, and is encompassed about with 
calamities, he has it not in his power to do these good 
oiSices to each other; and therefore, his willing mind is 
accepted for the deed. 

But however, the man abundantly compensates for 
this deficiency in carnal service, by spiritual service. 
For now, since he has left this world, by his bitter 
hunger and misery he renders a service to the whole- 
world. His corporal hunger, feeds the hunger of our 
spirit: his bodily nakedness, clothes the nakedness of 
our souls: the putrid sores of his body, are a medicine 
for the sores of our mind. Because, by his example he 
consoles us ; teaching us, how we please God if we believe 
on him on earth, w hen we are exercised by calamities ; 
and also admonishes us, how we are under the wrath 
of God, if we be destitute of faith here, and living in 
luxury. For we here see, that he, though covered with 
sores, was of great price in the sight of God; but that 
the rich glutton was hated of God. 

Heref tell me; — what king, with all his wealth and 
power, could ever bestow upon the world a benefit so 
great and so widely extensive as this poor Lazarus has 
done with his sores, his hunger, and his poverty! O the 
wondeful works and judgments of God! How does 
the prudence of the flesh, and all the wisdom of die 
world, rot and sink into nothing ! It stalks abroad with 
haughty brow, and fixes its eyes rather upon the goU, 
and purple of splendor, than upon the putrifying sores 
of the wretched Lazarus. Those whose eyes stand oot 
with fatness, can only receive and admire that wisdom. 
But when they see this poor object, they hold their nose 



lesi it should be otTended with the stench of hh som» 
and tom away their eyes from beholding his nakednest. 
Heoce it comes to pass, that they foolishly (jas3 by and 
dif regard this precious treasure which God thus puis in 
thmr path; while the same God, nevertheless, proceeds 
in his secret will and judgments, and raises this poor 
contemptible creature to that state of exaltation and 
booour, that all the kings of the earth are not worthy to 
bring him a napkin to wipe away the filth from his 
sores. For who, think ye, of the kings of the earth 
iwotiid not, from his heart, be glad to exchange his 
MOiidDess of bo<ly, his purple, and his crown, for the 
sores, the poverty, and the wretchedness of this poor 
Lazants, if it were but allowed him ! And who among 
the men of the world is so mad, who would purchase to 
Un^self the purple, and all the pomp and ambition of 
this rich man, if he might have it for dung? 

Anil thinkest thou that this rich man, if he bad not 
been blinder than a mole, or if he had know n that such m 
treaanrs, and a man of so great a price in the sight of 
ffod, was lying at his door, would not have gone out to 
Wipe, and even to kiss his sores? Yea, he would have 
pDl bim on the softest couch, and nursed him, and 
voiild have parted with all his purptc and all his wealth 
to senre him* ihit at that time, when the judgments of 
God were on the way to their accomplishment, he 
must of necessity do as he did, and see nothing. The 
tbou^ts of God in the meantime were — Behold! Be 
Ihoti unworthy of assisting him with thy sci^ce. — But 
wben the work and judgment of God were accomplished, 
then tlie mad wisdom of the man begins to liethink 
itself. And when he was in hell, and wracked with tor- 
ments, he would gladly liave given his houses and all 
that he had to him, to whom, a Utile before, he denied a 
domb of bread ! And now, all things being directly re- 
i HMd ^ he entreats that the same Lazarus, who a little 
before be disdained to touch, might cool his tongue witli 
the tip of his fmger. 

Behold God is, even at this day, fdling the worid 
with judgments and works of this kind, but no one 



regards them ; nay, nearly all men despise them. There 
are continually before our eyes poor and miserable men, 
whom God sets before our view as his most precious 
treasure, and we all the while know not what they 
mean. But when the work of God is done, and this 
treasure is taken away, then we all run up out of breath, 
offering our assistance, when it is too late to be of any 
service. Then we catch hold of their garments, their 
shoes, and their common furniture, and begin to look 
upon them as holy things ; \^ e undertake long piK 
grimages to go and worship them ; we build churches 
over their tombs ; and are occupied in many vanities of 
that kind ; but we are all the while only mocking our- 
V selves. For those saints whom, while they were with us. 
Me trampled under our feet, and looked on while they 
perished under the axe; the garments of these same 
saints, when they are of no longer use, we begin to wor- 
ship; so n^uch so, N that there is danger lest we come 
under these woes denounced by the Lord with so 
much severity, Matt, xxiii. * Wo unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, ye build the sepulchres of the prophets and 
adorn them : your fathers killed them, and ye build 
their sepulchres. Therefore, ye are witnesses against 
yourselves, that ye are the sons of them that killed the 
prophets. They punished them with death, and ye build 
their sepulchres.' 

And this mind and spirit all the godly have. For 
all are true Lazaruses who shew forth the same faith, 
the same tnind, and the same will. And therefore, he 
that is not like this Lazarus, shall, without doubt, have 
his portion with this rich man in hell. And all we 
indeed ought, after the example of Lazarus, to commit 
ourselves with steady confidence unto God, that he^ 
would work in us according to his will, and make ns 
prepared to do good unto all men. And even though 
we may not all be poor, and covered with sores, yet wc 
ought to be of the same mind that Lazarus was ; that, 
if God should require any soch thing of us, we may en- 
dure it without a murmur. For with this poverty of 
spirit, even the most rich may be endued. Thus Job, 


David/ Abraham were poor rich men. David saith, 
Psaim xxxviii. <^ I am a stranger with thee, and a 
sojoamer aa all my fieUhers were.'' What is the meaning 
of this ? when he was a king of great power, holding 
the kingdom over many cities? The meaning is, his 
heart was not set upon these things ; but, referring them 
all to the free bounty of God, he accounted them nought. 
In the same way also he spoke of his health of body ; 
which, in comparison with the health of his soul in the 
Si^t of God, he considered a thing of nought; nor 
woold he have murmuted if God had afflicted him with 
a disease, or with sores. In like manner also Abraham, 
although he did not experience the same poyerty nor the 
same pains as Lazarus did, yet would have thought it 
just and ri^t, had he been exercised with the same evils 
from the hand of God. For all the saints must l>e of the 
same mind and spirit internally, although they ditler in 
their external conveniences and inconveniences. Where- 
fore, Abraham acknowledges thi5 Lazarus to be a man 
of his fraternity, and receives him into his bosom ; 
which he certainly would not have done, had he not 
been of the same spirit, and had not the extreme po- 
verty and maladies of Lazarus been well-pleasing in his 
s^t. — Let it suffice to have spoken thus concerning 
the nature and sum of this Gospel ; that we may sec 
that it every where exalts faith, and condemns every 
one in unbelief. 


This Gospel however furnishes matter of some far- 
ther questions. 

Thejirst is, what this *• Abraham's bosom" is, for 
kis certain that it cannot be any carnal receptacle con- 
sisting of corporeal matter. In order to answer this 
question, »we are to know, that the soul or spirit of man 
can find no rest, no place unto which it can flee, out of 
the Word of God ; until, in the last day, it be received 
ap to behold and dwell in the presence of CJod. Where- 
fore I conclude, that " Abraham's bosom" signifies 
nothing else than the Word of God : namely, that word 


wherein, Gen. xxii. Christ was promised unto him, 
*^ In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be 
blessed ! " In this word, Christ was promised mito him, 
as he in whom all men should be blessed; that is^ 
should be set free from sin, death, and heU; and in no 
other, nor by any work of their own, how excellent or 
laborious soever it might be. And, all those who gare 
credit to this promise, believed in Christ, and became 
true Christians : and therefore, by fully relying on this 
word, they were delivered from the power of sin, deatfi, 
and hell. 

Therefore, all the fathers who looked for the coming 
of Christ, were " received into Abraham's bosom;" 
that is, they conflicted with death by an unshaken faith : 
end, resting wholly on this divine oracle, they slept in 
peace, and are gathered up into that worid as into a 
certain bosom, and, if they persevered unto the end, 
and died in that faith, will there rest until the final 
Judgment : (those only excepted, who rose together with 
Christ, as is recorded Matt, xxvi.) In the same manner 
we when we come to conflict with death, must lay hold 
of the promise of Christ, and rest in it with a steady 
confidence ; which speaks thus, " He that believeth in 
me, shall never die ;" or any other promise of the same 
kind. In such a promise as this, I say, confidently en- 
fold thy heart, and die in it ; and thus, thou shalt creep 
into the bosom of Christ, and sweetly sleep ; and be 
safely preserved therein, until the day of the resurrec- 
tion. For the promise made unto us, and that made 
unto Abraham, centre in the same point ; namely, in 
Christ, for it is by him that we are to be saved. The 
former promise however, is more particularly called 
** Abraham's bosom," because it was first spoken mtito 
him, and he first rested in it. 

On the contrary the " hell" which is here spoken 
of, is not that place which is appointed for the torments, 
of the damned, after the final judgment. Nor is it pro* 
bable that the body of this rich man was, at this time, 
cast down to the bottomless pit, but rather, buried in the 
earth. Hence, the hell must be some place where the 


spirit must remain ; from which, nevertheless, there can 
be no return unto h'fe, mid which canupt admit of the 
snbslaDce of the body with the soul. It appears to me, 
therefore, that this hell is nothing but the remorse of the 
ooQscience that is destitute of faith and the Word of 
God, and in which the soul, as it were, is imprisoned 
and confined until the last day : after which, the man 
will be cast down both soul and body into the bottom- 
less pit of heJh For as ** Abraham's bosom'* is the 
Word of God, in whicli those tliat arc of faith rest, sleep, 
and are preserved unto the day of final judgment; so, 
on the other hand, hell must be that place, where there 
i* not the Word of God, and wherein the ungodly are 
tormented in unbelief until the last day shall come ; ami 
this place, can be nothing else but the conscience, with- 
out faith, and filled with the guilt of sin. 

The ifecond question is tliis. How then can it be, 
that Abraham and the rich man conversed with each 
Other ? It cannot be that they exchaui^ed words in a 
real and corporeal voice, because the human body of 
each of them was in the grave: and thus also, \\h 
toogue, which the rich man complains was tormented 
in the danie, could not be corporeal ; nor was the finger 
of Lazarus corporeal ; nor the w ater real u hich he 
asked for to cool his tongue. Wherefore, all tliese thin^^s 
must of necessity take place in the conscience ; and, in 
ihis manner* — ^W'heny in tlie agony of death, the con- 
Mrience is opened up, it is made conscious of its state of 
unbelief; and dien, it truly sees *' Al>rahani s bosom*' 
and those that are concluded in it ; that is, the Word of 
GchI, in which it ought to believe. And here, as it has 
no faith in that Word, it is in such anguish of torment, 
«id is driven into those straits, that it is, as it were, in 
hell; not being able to fmtl any lielp or comfort in any 
Hay. And when it comes to this, these thoughts arise in 
thft conscience, and it vvould break out, were it allowed 
to speak, into such expressions as these which the rich 
iWk addresses to Abraliara : and it craves from tlie 
I Word of God, and from all who believe in it, some alle- 
, vialion of its distress : and that w ith so much concern, 
that it would willingly receive any the least comfort 

^ : 



from the very meanest of men, but cannot get even this. 
For Abraham answered him, (that is, his conscience is 
enlightened by the Word of God to have such feelings,) 
that this cannot be ; because he had his portion of good 
things in this life, and is now deservedly to be punished ; 
while those whom he, when alive, despised, are to be 
raised again from the dead. And at last the conscience 
has a feeling, as though it heard words saying, that there 
is a gulph unalterably fixed between it and those that 
are of faith, so that no one can pass from the one to 
the other. 

These thoughts arise from desperation : that is, from 
a full knowledge and persuasion in the person, that he 
is excluded for ever from the Word of God, and that 
there is no remedy or help whatever to be obtained. 
Hereupon these thoughts boil up more and more in the 
heart, and the person wants to have these dying agonies 
made known to the living, and miserably requires 
some one to be sent from the dead, to make them 
known unto them. But here again there is felt a 
repulse; and the person immediately hears this an- 
swer . in the ears of his conscience — that they have 
Moses and the Prophets, in whom they ought to believe, 
and in whom he himself ought to have believed. 

Behold ! All these things are what passes between 
the condemned conscience and the Word of God, when 
the storms of death come over it. No living man can 
know what these things are, nor any but those who 
experience them; and those who do experience them, 
would have others to be told what they are — but that 
cannot be. 

The third question is. At what time these things 
took place? and whether or not this rich man con- 
tinues to be in such torments unto this day, and will 
continue in them until the last day of the world shall 
come ?— This question is very subtle, and very difficult of 
solution to the minds of the ignorant. For in the con- 
sideration of this question, all idea of time is to be kept 
out of the mind ; and we must remember, that, in the 
next world, there is no such thing as time or hours, but 
all things are swallowed up in an eternity; as Peter 

saith, 2 Epiftt. iii. Wherefore, it appears to me, that un- 
der the example of this rich man, is shown us what 
takes place in all the ungodly when tlieir eyes are 
opened in the agony of death ; and that this remains 
but for that moment, and the